Opinion: Job retention scheme extension is welcome news for retail

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As we begin to descend the coronavirus mountain – to borrow the prime minister’s analogy – the thoughts of business leaders have turned to the question of how to get Britain back to work.

Tuesday’s announcement by chancellor Rishi Sunak that the job retention scheme, through which the government pays 80% of the wages of furloughed employees, has been extended until October will be welcomed across the retail sector.

With any business planning to make more than 100 redundancies required to allow at least 45 days for consultation, the original deadline of the end of June meant decisions over staff retention were rapidly coming to a head.

Although some details of the extension pledge still need ironing out, it at least gives bosses breathing space as they weigh up the extent to which they can sustain current payrolls as we begin to emerge from this crisis.

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