The government’s Job Retention Scheme has gone live earlier this week, with 140,000 businesses applying on the first day alone.

Not only will the scheme allow businesses to retain its workforce, it will provide a much needed cash flow for furloughed employees.

I urge all businesses to apply using HMRC’s online application system, which is designed to be quick and easy to complete. Employers should receive their money within six working days of their application. The government has said that the system can hold up to 450,000 applications per hour and has a task force of 5,000 operatives supporting with phone lines and a webchat service to ensure any questions can be answered.

It is vital that businesses retain their workforce, for when the restrictions are eased this will mean there is no delay in getting back to full operations as efficiently as possible. Recent research from the British Chambers of Commerce has indicated that two-thirds of firms have furloughed some portion of their workforce,

The Chamber has been speaking to a large number of businesses during the past number of weeks, of the businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic; 41 per cent have placed their staff on furloughed leave which makes it crucial that they receive this support.

This research indicates why it is essential that the next phase of the Job Retention Scheme is carried out smoothly and the cash is received by businesses to support their staff. Any delay in getting the cash to businesses would risk further pressure on businesses cash reserves and threaten job losses.

Under the Job Retention Scheme, employers can claim 80% of their employees wages, up to £2,500 per employee. The scheme is one of the measures that have been put in place by the UK government to help employers and employees during the pandemic.

The Job Retention Scheme is now live and open for applications, businesses can apply using this link –

For any further information on the support and guidance available to your business, please contact the Herefordshire & Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce by calling 01905 673 600 or visiting the online Coronavirus Information Hub which contains a detailed insight on the support available to support business at this time.