View all newsletters
Sign up for our free email newsletters

Fighting for quality news media in the digital age.

  1. News
August 10, 2021updated 30 Sep 2022 10:30am

Archant, Newsquest and MNA halve furlough claims as support scheme winds down

By Charlotte Tobitt

Archant, Midland News Association and Newsquest all halved their furlough claims in May as the news industry became gradually less reliant on Government support.

Archant, the UK’s fourth-largest regional publisher, claimed a tenth in May of what it did in February – sitting most recently in the £25,001 to £50,000 per month bracket.

In May, according to the most recent figures, Newsquest claimed between £10,001 and £25,000 – down from £50,001-£100,000 in February and £25,001-£50,000 in every other month since December.

Midland News Association, which publishes dailies Express & Star and the Shropshire Star and a series of weeklies, claimed between £25,001 and £50,000 in May – down from £50,001-£100,000 in April and £100,001-£250,000 in the preceding three months.

Al Jazeera stopped using UK Government cash in May for the first time this year, while Tindle’s Devon operation reduced its claim from £10,001-£25,000 to up to £10,000.

In May The Economist joined the list of publishers who realised they had done better than expected during the pandemic and paid back their Government furlough cash – following in the footsteps of The Spectator, the Telegraph, the Guardian, PA Media and Future.

All other news media using the scheme stayed in the same banded ranges from April to May. Many are regional publishers still facing the same pressures on advertising and circulation revenues, some of whom have as yet been unable to bring back suspended free print editions.

Content from our partners
Five ways to fail in media job interviews
How Germany's Ippen.Media mastered content planning across 86 newsrooms
Free journalism awards for journalists under 30: Deadline today

That includes City AM, which has been claiming between £10,001 and £25,000 per month since January and is aiming for an autumn return.

Other media companies such as Mail publisher DMGT, and Sun and Times owner News UK have not used the scheme.

Reach, the UK’s largest commercial publisher, furloughed staff last year but has not used the scheme since public figures began to be released from December.

Meanwhile regional publisher JPI Media ended furlough for all staff in April.

Industry total

Between December and May the news industry claimed somewhere in between £2.6m and £7.5m from the furlough scheme.

The biggest month was in February when between £765,018.26 and £1.9m was claimed.

In May, this was down to a range of £155,011.30 to £600,000.

The scheme, under which the Government pays 80% of an employee’s wages for hours they do not work while on furlough, is due to end on 30 September.

The latest figures for May reflect the penultimate month of this full scope of the scheme as companies were forced to start picking up 10% of the bill from 1 July.

Full list

Before December HMRC was legally unable to name companies who had received furlough payments because of taxpayer confidentiality rules under the Commissioners for Revenue and Customs Act 2005.

It is now required to name on a monthly basis the employers who have claimed cash, and how much within various banded ranges, due to a Treasury direction made under the Coronavirus Act 2020 in November when the furlough scheme was extended.

However, this means we can only look at claims made from December onwards.

Picture: Shutterstock

Email to point out mistakes, provide story tips or send in a letter for publication on our "Letters Page" blog

Select and enter your email address Weekly insight into the big strategic issues affecting the future of the news industry. Essential reading for media leaders every Thursday. Your morning brew of news about the world of news from Press Gazette and elsewhere in the media. Sent at around 10am UK time. Our weekly does of strategic insight about the future of news media aimed at US readers. A fortnightly update from the front-line of news and advertising. Aimed at marketers and those involved in the advertising industry.
  • Business owner/co-owner
  • CEO
  • COO
  • CFO
  • CTO
  • Chairperson
  • Non-Exec Director
  • Other C-Suite
  • Managing Director
  • President/Partner
  • Senior Executive/SVP or Corporate VP or equivalent
  • Director or equivalent
  • Group or Senior Manager
  • Head of Department/Function
  • Manager
  • Non-manager
  • Retired
  • Other
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how Progressive Media Investments may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.
Thank you

Thanks for subscribing.

Websites in our network