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Housing association Catalyst to repay government furlough money

Housing association Catalyst has said it will repay all furlough funds it has received to pay employees during lockdown.

A total of 101 people were placed on furlough using the government’s job retention scheme, and the organisation will pay back a total of £280,000 and not make any further claims for outstanding available funds which was due to total around £550,000.

The organisation said it could not in good faith benefit from the scheme which was designed to prevent redundancies. 

Ian McDermott, Chief Executive of Catalyst, said: “The government was clear that this was taxpayers’ money designed to ensure employers who could not afford to pay wages could protect the employment of as many people as possible rather than make mass redundancies.

“With the benefit of hindsight, we now know that we did not fall into that category and would not have made anyone redundant as a consequence of lockdown.

“It would be entirely wrong to keep the money and use it for a different purpose. As an ethical organisation we believe it is essential that we play our part as a responsible good corporate citizen and repay the money.

“At the beginning of this crisis we said we wanted to continue to employ as many people for as long as possible; that still stands, and our financial position means we have been able to do that over these last few months which I know have been tough for many.

“The ability to give this money back reflects the ongoing commitment of colleagues and their hard work across Catalyst over the last few months.”

Notes for editors:
A small number of staff (25) are still on furlough, many of whom are shielding.

As of 15 July, Catalyst had claimed £279k.