Over half of furloughed UK staff back at work – think tank

The Resolution Foundation estimated that the number of furloughed UK workers is ‘certainly below 4.5 million’ and possibly as low as 3 million. (AP)
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Updated 01 August 2020

Over half of furloughed UK staff back at work – think tank

  • Furlough scheme started alongside the coronavirus lockdown in March
  • Resolution Foundation estimates the number of furloughed workers is ‘certainly below 4.5 million’

LONDON: More than half of the roughly 9 million British employees who were put on furlough during the coronavirus lockdown have already returned to work, the Resolution Foundation think tank estimated on Saturday.
Britain’s finance ministry has said furlough payments totaling $42 billion so far have been made in respect of a cumulative 9.5 million jobs, but does not publish figures on the current number of furloughed workers.
Based on an analysis of surveys of businesses and households from the Office for National Statistics, the Resolution Foundation estimated that the number of furloughed workers is “certainly below 4.5 million” and possibly as low as 3 million.
The furlough scheme started alongside the lockdown in March, and is due to end in October, after which many economists fear unemployment could rise sharply, surpassing the peak seen after the financial crisis.
Official data on Thursday showed big differences between sectors, with more than 90 percent of information technology and sewerage workers not furloughed, but almost half of staff in the hospitality, arts and leisure sectors still needing help.
“These workers face a heightened risk of unemployment as the Job Retention Scheme starts to be phased out,” Resolution Foundation economist Dan Tomlinson said.
From this month, employers must begin to contribute to the cost of paying furloughed workers, who receive 80 percent of their normal salary.
Last week, Britain’s National Institute of Economic and Social Research and the opposition Labour Party called for the program to be extended until the middle of next year.
But finance minister Rishi Sunak has repeatedly rejected calls for an extension, and his deputy Steve Barclay said workers’ skills were likely to degrade if they spent more than eight months off work, waiting for a job that might not return.
Employers will receive $1,300 for each furloughed worker they take back and keep employed until the end of January.

Dubai’s Jafza, Israeli business group sign strategic partnership

Updated 26 September 2020

Dubai’s Jafza, Israeli business group sign strategic partnership

DUBAI: Dubai’s Jebel Ali Free Zone has signed a strategic partnership with an Israeli business group to support businesses and encourage economic cooperation following the normalization of ties between the UAE and Israel.

Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, the group chairman and chief executive of DP World, and Uriel Lynn, president of the Federation of Israeli Chambers of Commerce, signed the agreement virtually.

As part of the agreement, the two parties will share crucial information on new developments regarding economic relations between the countries aside from efforts to expand ties between businesses.

“The establishment of direct ties between two dynamic and advanced economies in the Middle East will undoubtedly provide impetus to economic growth, transforming the business landscape in the UAE,” bin Sulayem said in a statement.

It will be a mutually advantageous for Dubai and the Israeli business community, as more businesses will utilize the developed facilities and services in Jafza and create a bridgehead for the Israeli business sector to enhance its foreign trade in products and services,” Lynn meanwhile commented.

“Our main goal is to create a forum to promote economic cooperation and create new opportunities for businesses in both countries. Strengthening business ties and enhancing collaboration over time is also one of the primary objectives.”