The end of the furlough scheme is unlikely to trigger further immediate redundancies at Hays Travel but could have a “significant” impact industrywide, according to joint owner Irene Hays.

The government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme is due to end on October 31, although chancellor Rishi Sunak has said he is considering “creative” ways to help firms after that date, which could include measures such as cutting employers’ National Insurance contributions and business rates.

Hays Travel began consulting with 878 staff over potential redundancies in foreign exchange and trainee travel consultant roles last month.

Speaking as part of Travel Weekly’s Future of Travel Week, Irene Hays ruled out more imminent job cuts, saying: “We have done enough for now but obviously who knows what the future holds.”

Hays Travel initially furloughed the majority of its staff in March, before bringing over half of them, more than 2,500, back less than a month later.

Irene Hays added: “It’s fair to say we have taken advantage of the furlough scheme less than most. It [end of furlough] will impact our model less.”

Hays said she feared for the wider industry this autumn. She said: “We do think, industry-wide, the impact of that ending in October will be really significant. A lot of people have relied on that very heavily.”

The company is working on the basis that there will be no further support from government, she said.

“We are as frustrated as most people in the industry are. We are not relying on the government at all,” she said.

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