A third (37%) of UK employers are likely to make staff redundancies in the next three months, as a result of the coronavirus job retention scheme closing at the end of October.

According to new research by the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas), that figure rises to six out of 10 among large businesses.

As part of the Government’s winter economy plan, Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a new job support scheme which will launch in November.

The scheme is less generous than the furlough scheme, however, and aims only to support jobs that are “viable” outside of furlough.

In August, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed around one in eight workers were still covered by the coronavirus job retention scheme, with nearly a million workers returning to their jobs part-time in July.

New analysis by the Labour party also states that at the beginning of September an estimated 2.8 million SME employees were furloughed under the CJRS.

Since then, new restrictions have been introduced across the UK that mean 133,055 SMEs cannot operate at all or are trading at reduced capacity.

The party said over a million SMEs are also still experiencing a fall in turnover, with approximately 310,000 turning over less than half of what they did over the same period last year.

Susan Clews, chief executive of Acas, said:
“Businesses are facing extremely difficult circumstances due to the coronavirus crisis and our poll reveals that many are considering redundancies.

“Acas advice for bosses is to exhaust all possible alternatives to redundancies first but if employers feel they have no choice then they must follow the law in this area.

Speak to us about your financial situation.