Shepherd Neame, Eurostar and Brakes claim more than £1m furlough cash in one month


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A number of the county's biggest employers claimed more than £1million in furlough payments in December, it has been revealed.

And unsurprisingly it is those involved in the tourism and hospitality trade which were most reliant on the government's Job Retention Scheme payments.

Many firms have been forced to close during the crisis
Many firms have been forced to close during the crisis

Among them are Faversham-based Shepherd Neame, high-speed rail service Eurostar and Ashford-headquartered food supplier to the hospitality trade, Brakes.

All three claimed between £1,000,001 and £2.5m in December alone, according to the latest figures released by HM Revenue and Customs.

Each company in the country have the amount claimed in certain broad financial bands so it is not possible to see exactly how much each firm relied on the support package.

The scheme, which pays up to 80% of workers' salaries, up to a maximum of £2,500 a month, has been seen as a lifeline to many firms and prevented an unprecedented number of job losses.

In the Budget today, Chancellor Rishi Sunak confirmed it would remain in place until September.

Shepherd Neame has relied on furlough to keep staff on while its pubs, restaurants and hotels were told to shut
Shepherd Neame has relied on furlough to keep staff on while its pubs, restaurants and hotels were told to shut

Thorley Taverns, which runs a number of pubs in east Kent, claimed between £250,001 to £500,000 in December, while the decimation of international travel saw Folkestone's Holiday Extras claim between £100,001 and £250,000.

Eurotunnel claimed £100,001 - £250,000 - a similar amount to Ashford-based Walker Construction.

The county's major sports clubs also used the scheme, with Gillingham Football Club claiming between £50,001 and £100,000 while Kent County Cricket Club claimed between £25,001 and £50,000.

The KM Media Group, which publishes KentOnline and newspapers across the county, claimed between £10,001 and £25,000.

Jo James, chief executive of the Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce, which represents firms across the county, said: "The furlough scheme has been a lifeline for so many businesses across the county.

Industries related to tourism have been hit hard - such as Holiday Extras
Industries related to tourism have been hit hard - such as Holiday Extras

"The fact it is to be extended will allow many to be breathing a huge sigh of relieve, particularly those businesses that are still closed or facing reduced demand.

"Continuing the scheme until the end of September gives business the confidence and clarity that they need as many start on the road to recovery and growth."

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