More than two-thirds of transport business owners now think they will have to make people redundant once the furloughing scheme has come to an end, according to a new poll.

Asked: ‘Do you envisage having to make redundancies once the furlough scheme is lifted,’ 68% of respondents answered yes.

This is a rise of 12% from when the same question was asked two weeks ago during a webinar hosted by law firm Backhouse Jones.

The results came as the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) said four million redundancies had been avoided in the UK through the furlough scheme, but that it needed to be extended to protect jobs.

The Chancellor has announced plans to wind down the job retention scheme from July and to ease people back into work.

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However, the CIPD said employers wanted it extended until September.

Ben Willmott, CIPD head of public policy said: “The government will also need to consider whether to make the job retention scheme more flexible to the needs of specific sectors as it winds down and how it will gradually reduce the level of wage subsidy being provided without creating a cliff-edge for employers, especially those in the sectors that are hardest hit.”

Jonathan Backhouse, director at Backhouse Jones, said he estimated that between 70% and 80% of companies in transport and haulage would be considering making redundancies if furloughing is not extended after June: “These are very seriously worrying times for all of us in business,” he added.

The FTA said there were concerns that an abrupt removal of the scheme would cause significant damage to the logistics sector: “Critically, there needs to be an urgent decision by government on the future of the scheme, so that it can be communicated to the industry and implemented accordingly,” said Elizabeth de Jong, FTA policy director.

“If funding is not available, and groups of more than 100 people are to be made redundant, consultations need to start on 18 May to accommodate the end of the [furlough scheme] at the end of June.

“This is obviously something we all want to avoid, so clear government guidance is vital for the businesses that will keep Britain trading out of this crisis.”