Posted: Mon 11th May 2020
Three business owners have called on the chancellor to allow furloughed workers to return to work to support their struggling companies.
Emma Loisel, founder of Volcano Coffee Works, and Theadora Alexander and Chris Green, co-founders of Young Foodies, have written an open letter to Rishi Sunak in which they say while the government's Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has stopped businesses laying off staff, many small firms may no longer exist when the scheme ends.
"Things could be different if furloughed employees were allowed to continue to work for their employers," the letter says.
"For businesses, under the current rules, it's like our people are on enforced leave, just when we need them the most!
"Our loss in revenues means we can't afford to pay them right now. But we still need their time and expertise to maximise all revenue opportunities, keep our businesses alive, plus get them ready to flourish again when more normal trading environments return.
"You are already paying our people's wages. This huge sunk cost could become an investment in our future, if you let us get our people back to work."
According to research commissioned by the entrepreneurs, 86% of furloughed staff are willing to work to help their employer's business survive the coronavirus lockdown, and 82% said they feel a sense of duty to contribute to the recovery of the British economy.
The call comes after press reports suggest the chancellor is considering changes to the scheme including extending it to September but reducing the amount of wages covered or allowing works to return part-time.
Enterprise Nation joined a call last month during which small business minister Paul Scully said the government is considering part-time furloughing.
Theadora Alexander said: "Bringing Britain's talent back into the workforce is a no-brainer. It makes no sense for the government to restrict people from supporting their employers, effectively putting the breaks on the economy and making it harder for businesses to recover."
The entrepreneurs are encouraging furloughed workers to support the campaign on social media using the #RatherBeWorking hashtag.
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