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COVID-19: growing number of businesses set to repay CJRS funds

A growing number of businesses, including FTSE 100 company Bunzl, are pledging to repay funds received as part of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS). For Bunzl, whose profits rose during lockdown, this repayment would amount to around £7 million, less than four days of operating profits. Other businesses who are now in the recovery process, for example Ikea and Games Workshop, also intend to repay at least some of the CJRS funds granted to them.

Earlier this month, the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) revealed that government spending associated with the CJRS will be almost one-third less than originally forecast. However, it is still predicted to reach £60 billion, raising questions about the potential for repayment to become policy as the government faces the financial costs of its schemes introduced to support the economy in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.