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Martin Lewis warns that ‘hundreds of thousands of furloughed workers could face redundancy’

Worrying news…

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According to Martin Lewis, hundreds of thousands of furloughed workers face redundancy.

Martin Lewis, founder of MoneySavingExpert.com, has issued a warning to those on furlough due to changes in the scheme set to happen in August.

Unfortunately, despite furlough being designed to keep people in employment, it doesn’t protect you from being made redundant. 

Employers will be required to start to make contributions towards costs from August, and this could mean redundancies begin to be announced soon.

This is because employers have to give 45 days notice before making redundancies, and this can still happen while staff are on furlough.

If employers think they can’t afford to start contributing towards furlough pay come August, redundancy letters could start being sent this month. 

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This situation will likely spiral come October 31st, when the furlough scheme ends. 

Currently, those unable to work due to coronavirus such as hospitality staff are able to get 80% of their wages paid by the government, up to a maximum of £2,500 a month.

The scheme was launched on the 20th March and was backdated from the 1st of the same month, and as of the end of today, no new employees can be put on the scheme.  

From August the rules are changing and employers will be expected to pay the National Insurance and Pension contributions. 

From September they will also be required to pay 10% of the salary, which will be upped to 20% in October when the scheme is set to finish.

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Martin Lewis has explained that this means 100,000s or even millions of people could face redundancy. This is because 8m people are currently on the furlough scheme.

In his weekly email published today, Martin said: “I’m sorry for the stark warning. From August, employers need to start contributing towards furlough costs.

“This means redundancy is likely by then for those in roles employers don’t consider viable after October, when furlough ends.

“As redundancy can require a 45-day consultation period, that means many will soon get letters. I suspect this will impact 100,000s or even millions.”

Kate Townsend/Unsplash

If you are furloughed and made redundant it doesn’t affect your redundancy pay rights and your employer is still required to carry out a fair redundancy process.

How much you are entitled to depends on your age and length of service. If you are under 22 you are entitled to half a week’s pay for each full year; one week’s pay for each full year if you are between 22 and 41; and one and a half week’s pay for each full year you are over 41.

You are not entitled to a redundancy pay out if you have been working for your employer for under two years.

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A HM Treasury spokesperson said: “The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is one of the most generous schemes of its kind and it has so far protected more than 8million jobs and supported millions of businesses during this crisis.

“As the economy re-opens, we will continue to look at how to adjust our support in a way that ensures people can get back to work, protecting both the UK economy and the livelihoods of people across the country.”

Employers are not allowed to base redundancy payout on the rate of your furlough pay instead of your usual salary.

To help those affected, Martin Lewis has released a guide to redundancy which you can see here

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New government proposals could see cat owners fined £500

Here’s everything you need to know…

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@vnevremeni & @little_plants / Unsplash

Cat owners could be slapped with hefty fines under a subtle new rule change proposed by the government this week.

The new plans propose that all cat owners must ensure their pet is microchipped before they are twenty weeks old – there, the cat’s details will be stored and kept up-to-date in a database.

If a cat owner is found to not have microchipped their cat, however, they will have twenty-one days to get their pet microchipped or risk facing a fine of up to £500. 

@little_plant / Unsplash

Government figures show that out of the 10.8 million pet cats in the UK, as many as 2.8 million are still not microchipped. And, according to Cats Protection, eight out of ten stray cats coming into their centres are not microchipped.

The charity added that the procedure only costs between £20 and £30.

Animal Welfare Minister Lord Goldsmith said: “Cats are much-loved parts of our families and making sure that they’re microchipped is the best possible way of making sure that you are reunited with them if they are ever lost or stolen.

“These new rules will help protect millions of cats across the country and will be brought in alongside a range of other protections we are introducing under our Action Plan for Animal Welfare.”

Paul Hanaoka / Unsplash

Jacqui Cuff, Cats Protection’s Head of Advocacy and Government Relations, also stressed the importance of microchipping, adding: “Every day, we see how important microchipping is for cats and for the people who love them.

“Whether it’s reuniting a lost cat with their owner, identifying an injured cat, or helping to ensure an owner can be informed in the sad event that their cat has been hit and killed by a car.

“Microchipping is by far the most effective and quickest way of identifying lost cats and can help ease the pressure on rescue charities like Cats Protection. Without a microchip, a lost cat will most likely end up being rehomed to a new home as there is often no trace of their original owner.”

The new rules, which have been announced as part of the government’s ‘Action Plan for Animal Welfare’, won’t come into place until an official review has been completed.

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Chill Factore forced to close after section of roof damaged by Storm Barra

Major damage to the roof has forced the popular attraction to close

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@stefm84 / Twitter

The Chill Factore has been forced to close after a section of its roof was damaged from severe winds brought on by Storm Barra. 

All activities at the Beyond building, which houses an indoor ski slope, have been cancelled for the rest of the day, with car parks surrounding the Trafford attraction closing ‘with immediate effect’. 

In a statement on its website, Chill Factore said: “The Beyond building has sustained some damage due to the severe winds.

“As a result we’ve made the difficult decision to close our building and surrounding car parks with immediate effect to protect the health and safety of our guests and team.

“All activities for the remainder of the day have been cancelled and we are in the process of contacting guests with bookings for today to rearrange their activities.

“We are awaiting contractors to come and assess the damage and we will provide more information as soon as possible through our website & social media accounts.”

This comes after the Met Office issued a yellow weather warning in various areas across Greater Manchester ahead of the arrival of Storm Barra.

@adventurecat__ / Instagram

The second named storm of the season hit the region today, bringing with it plummeting temperatures plummeting and heavy rainfall.

Forecasters say travel disruption is ‘likely’, especially over higher routes, as is delays to rail and air travel. There is also the ‘slight chance some rural communities may become cut off’. 

The Met Office said: “A deep area of low pressure moving in across the UK from the Atlantic is likely to bring high winds to many parts of the UK.

“Strong winds arriving into the west through the morning, spreading inland and reaching eastern areas through the afternoon and early evening. Gusts of 45-50 mph are expected widely, with 60-70 mph in exposed coastal locations.

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People who kill children will face mandatory life sentences under new Arthur’s Law

The law has been named after six-year-old Arthur Labinjo-Hughes, who was murdered by his stepmother last year

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@BorisJohnson / Twitter

The Prime Minister has backed a newly proposed law that will ensure child murderers will never leave prison.

Following the horrifying death of six-year-old Arthur Labinjo-Hughes, Boris Johnson has announced that his government will be amending the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill to make ‘whole-life orders the starting point for such abhorrent crimes’. 

Johnson said in a statement: “Anyone who plans then carries out the murder of a child should never be released from prison. So we’re toughening the law to make whole-life orders the starting point for such abhorrent crimes.

“The Attorney General is also urgently considering the facts of this case and the sentence handed down, but this is a Government that will always legislate for the toughest possible sentences for such repugnant crimes.”

Arthur’s stepmother Emma Tustin was jailed last week for at least twenty-nine years for his murder, while his father Thomas Hughes was sentenced to twenty-one years for manslaughter.

However, the attorney general announced over the weekend that the sentences are to be reviewed to ‘determine whether they were too low’. 

According to The Guardian, the AGO has twenty-eight days from the date of sentence to review a case, assess whether it falls under the Unduly Lenient Sentence (ULS) scheme and make a decision as to whether to refer a sentence to the court of appeal. 

West Midlands Police

Arthur died in Solihull, Midlands on June 16th 2020, as a result of a serious head injury inflicted by Tustin. His body was also covered in 130 bruises.

It was later discovered that the six-year-old had been starved, beaten and poisoned with salt in the weeks leading to his death.

Harrowing footage recently released by West Midlands Police show a weak and emancipated Arthur struggling to lift his duvet from the living room floor, where he had been forced to sleep. 

Social worker and member of the House of Lords Herbert Laming said the reduction in funding for social care in the last ten years meant abused and neglected children like Arthur were being missed by the authorities. 

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