Furlough Trap, BBC, Remembering Lyra McKee

This week our Social Impact Briefing focuses on campaigning by New Starter Justice for changes to the government furlough scheme, back to school with the BBC, and remembering journalist Lyra McKee.

Authors: Borimir Totev
  • Reading time: 5 min.
  • Posted on: April 20, 2020

The new starter ‘‘furlough trap’’ 

Last week, the Treasury extended the cut-off date for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. The change, from 28 February to 19 March, aimed to make 200,000 more people eligible for furlough.

On the surface good news, but looks can be deceiving. New Starter Justice, with its 8,000 active members, is campaigning for anyone who slipped through the cracks of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, particularly new starters. 

There is no incentive for a previous employer to absorb a cost and additional risk by supporting you. However, it seems as though the majority of people in this group have new employers who wish they were able to help, but are unable to do so. We need everyone’s new employers to be able to furlough them. This is what we’re fighting for. @JaimeleeRattray

According to a poll of 920 people carried out by New Starter Justice, only 5% said that the new cut-off date made them eligible for furlough. Further polling by Martin Lewis from the Money Saving Expert confirmed that over 90% of companies submit Real Time Information (RTI) to HMRC 1-10 days before payday, which is at the end of the month for the majority (70%). So even employees who started a job before 19 March, in some cases, as early as February, are unlikely to appear in payroll data until after this date.

I have worked since the age of 18 with no gaps in my employment and I thought I was bettering myself and my career starting a new job in March, however the government has forgotten about new starters and we are not eligible for the furlough scheme. I have now been made redundant as a result of this – I thought Rishi had made a job retention scheme?

The aim of the New Starter Justice campaign is to make further changes to the Job Retention Scheme to include new starters with confirmation of employment before 19 March, regardless of payroll status and additional RTI submission requirements.

‘Back to school’ with the BBC’s new education offer

If this was a normal school calendar year, children would have been back to school today after the Easter half term. Yesterday, the Education Secretary, Gavin Williamson, said that he could not give a date for when schools would reopen. School leaders, including the National Association of Head Teachers, have expressed concerns that irresponsible speculation over school reopenings is ‘spreading confusion among parents, students and staff’.

In view of these exceptional circumstances for pupils all around the country, the BBC is starting to offer daily programmes to help children and parents during the lockdown, described as its ‘biggest online education push in history’. Notable figures who are taking part in online lessons include Sir David Attenborough, Former shadow chancellor Ed Balls, and Doctor Who actress Jodie Whittaker.

From today, BBC Bitesize Daily, will deliver daily curriculum relevant learning content across platforms like the BBC iPlayer, Red Button, and the BBC Bitesize website and app.

Remembering Lyra McKee

A year on since her tragic murder on 18 April 2019 during riots in Derry, Northern Ireland, the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) remembered journalist Lyra McKee (29) with an online campaign #WeStandWithLyra. The NUJ encouraging members and friends to use social media to highlight the shared values which Lyra embraced.

One man, denying all charges, has since been charged with her murder. Meanwhile, residents of the street where Lyra was shot have been asked to provide fresh evidence in a direct appeal by detectives leading the investigation into her killing. 

New incoming threats to a journalist with The Irish News have also recently emerged. The National Union of Journalists (NUJ) in the UK and Ireland have condemned the threat, parallel to Amnesty International’s warning that one year since the murder of Lyra McKee, Northern Ireland remains the ‘most dangerous place in UK’ for journalists’.

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The (virtual) Charity Film Awards, 7pm on 21 April

The Charity Film Awards were set up to celebrate the success of film in engaging supporters, driving positive conversations, and encouraging donations for good causes. The 2020 edition of the awards will be a virtual event, continuing on a mission to ‘demonstrate that in the modern world, film-making is the most powerful piece of equipment in the charity communication tool box’.

Simon Burton, Founder of the Charity Film Awards told us

In these challenging circumstances it’s more important than ever to celebrate the amazing work of charities throughout the UK. We are determined to shine a positive light on them and by making the awards virtual involve more charities and their supporters in a heart-warming and inspirational event.

Tune in to the Charity Film Awards website from 6:30pm tomorrow, to view the selected films as a preview to the main live-streamed event and the announcement of the winners at 7pm on 21 April.

There Can Be No National Security Without Human Security

Our Strategy Lead, Jack Maycock, explores the different security responses to COVID-19. The piece highlights how nation states have misallocated resources in the past years, and that in order to be safer and better prepared next time we face a global crisis of this scale, we require a new security agenda for the 21st century. The publication of this Op-Ed marked our 50th blog post. You can find all our previous Op-Eds and Briefings on the world of social impact right here. 

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