A new way to get things done …

It’s year zero. Not since the second world war have we faced a crisis like Covid-19 and the lockdown. From businesses that can’t open, to farmers who can’t bring in the harvest, from care-workers on zero hours contracts, to doctors who can’t get PPE. Share your big problem with us, so we can reach out to the country for pioneering solutions that unlock the UK’s potential.

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What's the Challenge?

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What's the Big Idea?

How Furlough Can you go?

Unemployment has already doubled since the start of lockdown. In three short months, it shot up from one- and- a- half to three million people – that’s one in every 10 people employed.  The worst unemployment figures since the 1982 crash. A tragedy.

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And that’s not all

A staggering 8 and half million people are now on furlough, nearly a third of the workforce.

When the furlough scheme ends in October, if left to market forces, unemployment will continue to rocket.

Nearly four in 10 working people could be forced onto the dole queues. Welfare benefits will not compensate for the hardships this will cause individuals and families up and down the UK. It would be a catastrophe for millions of people. And as always, the poorest will be hit hardest.  A social and economic nightmare.

Something has to be done to head this off.  We need to encourage businesses to take back furloughed staff, rather than consigning them to the dole queues. 

Could a Reverse Furlough Scheme be the solution?

A Reverse Furlough Scheme would reward businesses that keep on their previously furloughed staff.  And perhaps penalise those that make them redundant. Unlike the original furlough scheme, it would use government money to pay people to work, rather than not work.

So, for example, 20 per cent of employment costs could be met by the government for each employee kept on for at least a year after furlough ends.  And perhaps businesses who make previously furloughed staff redundant, despite government offers of help, should repay some or all of the government subsidies they received for that employee during the furlough period?

Critics will say businesses will find this burdensome: the idea may need refinement.  If we want employers to retain staff, ready for when the economy picks up again, surely the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, should help?

Some will say the government can’t afford it.  Can it afford not to?  It’s got to be better for government to put money into keeping people in work  – rather than keeping them on the dole. And that’s the alternative we’re about to confront.

Challenge for the Unlocked community:

How do we ensure people can go back to work, rather than face redundancy, once furlough ends?

How could we incentivise employers to keep employing people so that we rebuild the economy in a humane and productive way?

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What Do You Think?

Can you help? So many people, businesses and organisations are suffering the impact of lockdown. We can’t rely on politicians to create and provide every new solution.

We need big, bold new ways to get things done – fast.

Join our community: together, we can share our skills, knowledge and ideas to help those who need it most.

Join the conversation.

This is a link to our fb group

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Updates

This is where we’ll post updates on what’s happened since we launched a challenge