BGC backs UK furlough extension as vital support 

The Betting and Gaming Council (BGC) has backed the government continuing its UK furlough scheme until October, branding it a much needed measure to help support around 64,000 of the industry’s workforce.

Yesterday, Chancellor Rishi Sunak pledged that the government would continue its business relief measures, in which a furlough scheme has been established to pay ‘80% of wages up to £2,500’ for staff who have been made temporarily redundant.

Sunak confirmed that the furlough scheme would be extended in its current capacity until the end of July. From August to October, the government will require employers to contribute to the 80%, with furloughed staff encouraged to return to work on a part-time basis. 

The BGC welcomed further direct employee support, as all UK gambling and betting venues have been under forced lockdown since 20 March.

In its response, the BGC noted that even with the government relaxing business lockdown measures (expected 4 July at the earliest) incumbents in the retail, leisure and hospitality sectors would not survive without additional longer-term support from the government. 

Michael Dugher, BGC chief executive, said: “We strongly welcomed the introduction of the furlough scheme, as a lifeline for our members and the tens of thousands they employ, and we are delighted that the Chancellor has announced it will continue until the end of October.

 “Even when social distancing measures are relaxed for the hospitality and leisure industry, many of our member companies would be operating at a much reduced capacity. Without continued business support these businesses will fail and jobs will be lost. We have had excellent engagement with ministers, especially Nigel Huddleston at DCMS, and we are grateful for the support we’ve had across government. 

 “Our industry will continue to do its utmost to help with the fight against the virus and play our full part in this historic national effort to support local communities and people in most need. When conditions allow we hope to be in a position to return to business and help get the retail, leisure and hospitality industry moving again.”

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