Liverpool ONE launches recruitment drive as government furlough scheme ends

Liverpool ONE is looking for staff as the government’s furlough scheme ends across the UK.

<p>Stores closed in Liverpool during the pandemic. </p>

Stores closed in Liverpool during the pandemic.

The city’s shopping destination, with over 170 shops, bars and restaurants, is looking for new retail and hospitality staff and is encouraging prospective employees to ‘deliver’ their CV during an open day on October 12.

The hospitality sector was hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic with bars and clubs faring the worst.

Liverpool ONE employers looking for new staff will be posting signs outside their front doors urging applicants to come in.

For people without the technology at home to print their CV, there will be a printer service operating from the tourist information centre in Wall Street throughout the day.

Donna Howitt, Place Strategy Director at Liverpool ONE, said employers were looking for a “can-do attitude, enthusiasm and a willingness to learn”.

What was the furlough scheme?

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Chancellor Rishi Sunak said he was “immensely proud” of the £70 billion Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, introduced in March 2020 after large parts of the UK economy closed.

The government paid the wages of people who could not work, or whose employers could no longer afford to pay them, up to a monthly limit of £2,500.

The scheme initially paid 80% of their usual salaries, but in August and September it paid 60%, with employers paying 20%.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) estimated that in late August 2021 approximately 1.3 to 1.7 million people were still on furlough.

Small businesses try to stay afloat

There has been concern about unemployment as the furlough scheme ends, with small business potentially facing an ‘autumn storm’ of challenges.

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Phil McCabe, Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) Development Manager for Merseyside and Cheshire, said: “The government’s furlough scheme has undoubtedly helped millions of people across the country stay in employment and businesses stay afloat during incredibly tough 18 months.

“It’s been small businesses that have been far heavier users of furlough than large firms.

“FSB’s research in May this year showed that small firms in the North West had the highest number of staff (48%) on full and/or flexi furlough.

“On top of this we’ve got a National Insurance increase on the horizon, widespread skills shortages and the Apprenticeship Incentive and small employer sick pay rebate now ended.

“Preventing large numbers entering unemployment must be at front and centre for Government.”