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Britain should be 'drawing up plans for furlough' in face of wave of Covid infections and emergence of Omicron

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Britain should be drawing up plans for furlough in the face of a wave of coronavirus infections, according to the International Monetary Fund.

The IMF said in its annual UK health check report that Britain should be ready to redeploy furlough if the Covid situation requires widespread lockdowns.

The large rise in cases, emergence of the omicron variant and the uncertainty surrounding it represents a major risk to the economy, the IMF stated.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak.

It forecasts a mild slow-down in economic growth in the new year following the announcement of the latest restrictions to help curb the increase in infections.

The Omicron variant also risks creating further supply chain issues and pressures on inflation, said the IMF.

"In the event of a virulent covid-19 wave requiring widespread mandated closures, the authorities should be ready to redeploy a subset of the most successful previous exceptional programmes," it added.

The IMF said the government should be drawing up plans for furlough.
The IMF said the government should be drawing up plans for furlough.

It said this should include a furlough scheme and targeted support to the most vulnerable households and small businesses.

The comments were published as part of the IMF's regular health check of the UK economy.

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