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Treasury Committee urges targeted extension to Job Retention Scheme

11 September 2020 by

The Treasury Committee has urged chancellor Rishi Sunak to "carefully consider" targeted extensions to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS).

As part of the Treasury Committee's inquiry into the economic impact of coronavirus, it has made a series of recommendations to government, including effectively targeted assistance to those who need it.

The report said many businesses in sectors suffering most from social distancing, such as hospitality, will have a viable long-term future, but only if they continue to be supported either by their owners or by taxpayers beyond the expiry of the CJRS.

The report added that the continued VAT cut on hospitality and leisure may not be enough to encourage consumers to continue to spend now the Eat Out to Help Out scheme has ended, and that the chancellor "needs to consider whether additional measures to stimulate consumption are warranted".

MP Mel Stride, chair of the Treasury Committee, said: "The committee's disappointment that the government did not implement our recommendations to help those who have fallen through the gaps in support persists. Our second report of the inquiry focuses on emerging challenges as lockdown measures are lifted.

"One such challenge is to target assistance effectively at those businesses and individuals who need it. The chancellor should carefully consider targeted extensions to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and explain his conclusions.

"The key will be assisting those businesses who, with additional support, can come through the crisis as sustainable enterprises, rather than focusing on those that will unfortunately just not be viable in the changed post-crisis economy. This requires a very difficult set of judgements; it is where careful analysis and creative thinking will be critical.

"As the committee has said throughout the crisis, the chancellor must continue to show flexibility in his approach. We hope that the Treasury's unwillingness to implement the recommendations from our first report is not a sign of how it will respond to this one."

Photo: Shutterstock

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