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Positive outlook from Chamber of Commerce chief as furlough ends


Furlough ended on Thursday prompting fears of job losses throughout the region.

But Dumfries Chamber of Commerce chief Lee Medd believes that the region will avoid a spike in unemployment.

He insisted earlier that businesses have already prepared for the UK Government scheme finishing.

And Mr Medd, the chamber’s services manager, has again moved to calm fears of firms swinging the axe.

He said: “Companies have had plenty of notice of this and although there will be some job losses, it won’t be as tough here as other regions and other parts of the country.

“We already have our hospitality and retail firms still open and trading.

“They are looking for staff so this won’t have as bad an impact as feared.

“Any people out there looking for opportunities, if they re-train there are jobs.”

He cited the case of truck drivers who have left the haulage industry in droves and added: “People have been re-assessing their lifestyles (during the pandemic and furlough) and as for the HGV drivers issue, there has been a lot of drivers going to other jobs such as delivery drivers after realising they can finish at 10pm and not be sleeping in a layby or going up and down the country.

“And they won’t be away weekends on long trips.

“Shopping has moved massively to online and the click and collect services.

“More and more are doing that and so businesses have adapted and the online market is booming and here to stay with home deliveries.

“So, I think you will see a lot of people transfer their skills or re-train for another industry.

“Like I say, there will be job losses, there are jobs out there for people and the other chamber of commerces throughout the country are agreeing with the Government that there are about one million unfilled jobs just now.”

The UK Government furlough scheme was introduced across the country in spring 2020 in a bid to prevent people being laid off by their employers during the Covid-19 crisis and lockdown.

The government initially paid 80 per cent of the wages of people who were unable to work, or whose employers could no longer afford to pay them.

But from July, 2021, the government’s contribution was gradually reduced to 60 per cent of workers’ wages.




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