New Covid-19 support measures will save thousands of jobs in the metalforming sector

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Thousands of jobs in the metalforming sector will be saved thanks to the latest measures of Coronavirus support announced by the Chancellor yesterday according to the trade body for the sector.

The Confederation of British Metalforming (CBM), who represent over 200 companies involved in the manufacture of fasteners, forgings, pressings, cold-rolled and sheet metal products, has welcomed Rishi Sunak’s mixture of Job Support Scheme (JSS), extension of Business Support Loans and VAT deferrals as industry battles with falling volumes due to the pandemic.

According to its latest survey, 90% of its members had accessed the furlough scheme and, more importantly, 65% would change their mind on future redundancies if further assistance was in place.

The report painted a stark picture of current performance, with 88% of firms admitting that volumes had been hit by the pandemic and four fifths predicting their future sales forecast will be below average.

An overwhelming 90% of companies believe a stimulus package for certain sectors is needed, in order for the economy to recover to pre-Covid19 levels.

Geraldine Bolton, Chief Executive Office of Confederation of British Metalforming, commented: “A lot of our members are heavily involved in the automotive and aerospace sectors and these are two of the worst affected industries due to factory closures and the air travel falling off a cliff.

“The furlough scheme has been a great success, but the October deadline is fast approaching and our members are starting to plan for future staffing levels against the reality of sales they are expecting.”

She continued: “The Job Support Scheme will give them more time to look at new revenue streams, whilst providing flexibility to get people back into work at reduced hours.

“We have spent so long addressing skills shortages in our sector, the last thing firms need is to lose skilled people as it will hamper them in their longer-term recovery.”

CBM has been lobbying Government for the last four months about a reverse Job Retention Scheme that incentivises businesses to bring back staff in some capacity.

It had also been asking for a raft of other support measures to help the cashflow of viable companies hit by the pandemic and is happy that the requested VAT and Corporate Tax extensions have been put in place to give businesses a further 12 months to make payments.

“Coming to terms with Covid-19 is one thing, but it is also clear that our members are very worried about the impending spectre of Brexit and the increasingly likely reality of a ‘no deal,” added Steve Morley, President of the Confederation of British Metalforming.

“58% of companies in our sector feel leaving the EU will have a detrimental effect on their business and, importantly, more than half would like to see an extension to negotiations.”

He concluded: “The message is clear…leaving without a deal should not be an option. It would have been a testing time for business in a normal world, let alone one that has been turned upside down by the pandemic.”

CBM represents over 200 members, providing the largest collective voice for the metalforming sector.

It provides essential lobbying, training services, access to knowledge sharing events and support with Climate Change Levy administration, the latter delivering more than £4m of savings to members every year.