Fintechs tight-lipped on whether they will take up chancellor’s £1,000 job retention scheme offer

By John Reynolds on Thursday 23 July 2020

Alternative LendingDigital BankingSavings and Investment

Some said they are considering taking up the offer, others said it had no influence, while many refused to comment.

Fintechs tight-lipped on whether they will take up chancellor’s £1,000 job retention scheme offer
Image source: Pixabay.

UK fintechs are remaining tight-lipped on whether they will take up the government’s offer of thousands of pounds for returning furloughed workers to their jobs.

The government’s job retention bonus scheme pays businesses £1,000 for each furloughed worker brought back to work and kept in post until January.

The government is hoping the job retention bonus scheme will help prevent a spike in unemployment when the furlough scheme, which has helped pay wages, finishes in October.

Fintechs have taken advantage of the furlough scheme during the pandemic, but the bulk of those contacted by AltFi would not be drawn on whether they would be applying for the bonus scheme.

Tandem Bank, which furloughed a “a very small number of staff” during the height of the pandemic, said the job retention bonus scheme did not influence its decision to guarantee furloughed staff their jobs back. 

Asked specifically if it would take up the £1,000 offer, Tandem said it had not decided.

Curve, which in early June had 21 employees furloughed on a “furlough rota” system, said it was considering taking up the job retention bonus scheme offer, but had not made a final decision.

Funding Circle, the peer-to-peer lender, is not using the bonus scheme.

Earlier this month, Funding Circle updated the market, saying it had furloughed a small number of employees whilst waiting to be accredited to join the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS).

“Nearly all have since returned and we will not claim any money for the period from the government under the furlough job retention scheme,” Funding Circle said.

Zopa is understood not to have decided on whether it will use the bonus scheme.

AltFi also contacted Starling Bank and Tide, but both said they had not furloughed any staff during the pandemic.

Crowdcube, which has furloughed staff, declined to comment on whether it was taking up the bonus.

Revolut, which as of 8 June had not furloughed staff but instead made redundancies, also declined to comment.

MPs have warned that companies might claim the bonus for staff that would have returned to jobs from furlough anyway.

But Rishi Sunak said the bonus serves “as a significant incentive” to keep jobs amid coronavirus.

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