Furlough folly: the Government dangles the vaccine carrot in front of industry to buy time this winter – instead we need to get back to work NOW with no more lockdowns and an end to furlough

It’s madness, it’s excessive and it’s destroying the economy. The November lockdown is not needed as the Government have already admitted their regional tier system was working in suppressing the virus. And the reintroduction of the furlough scheme until the end of March suggests lockdowns will continue on and off until Easter allowing zombie firms to stagger on for another five months giving millions of workers mainly in larger companies a long winter holiday. Meanwhile more than a million self-employed workers and small businesses are left with nothing.

The lockdowns and furlough schemes are a folly as they are creating an unnecessary recession with no end in sight. Twisted thinking suggests it will end when a vaccine for Covid-19 will end the crisis. It won’t. Like a carrot dangled in front of a donkey the vaccine is being used by the Government to encourage us all to accept the lock downs and the draconian rules that have destroyed so many businesses and so many lives. I don’t dispute that Covid-19 is a serious and deadly strain illness but along with many in business I question the way the authorities have reacted to the pandemic. Every year there are outbreaks of flu and every year there are new vaccines for flu as it mutates. It will be the same with Covid-19. We just have to live with it.

Saving face

By extending the furlough scheme to the spring there is a suspicion the government is manipulating the outbreak to show how they have beaten the virus. Flu infections always rise in the winter and fall in the spring. Could the furlough system and the lockdowns be more about saving face and looking to be in control? It certainly looks that way when you see how the Governments of Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland attempt to outdo each other and Westminster in particular in their evangelism in fighting coronavirus.

There is no reason why most businesses cannot remain open as they don’t spread the virus. If supermarkets can open their doors so can virtually every business. And the insistence that people work from home if possible has helped to destroy viable businesses in town and city centres and kill public transport. 

Fraudulent claims

Furloughing has encouraged the rogues and criminals of this world to invent companies and members of staff so they can claim the cash. HMRC are conducting thousands of investigations into fraudulent claims while anecdotally many workers have been told to work as normal by employers thus creating a massive fraud on the British tax payer. It has to end and it is the duty of all in business to keep up the pressure on authorities to at least relax some of the restrictions or Britain will soon be bust.

Harry Mottram


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