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May 11, 2021updated 30 Sep 2022 10:16am

Archant and Newsquest increase furlough claims, pushing up news industry total for February

By Charlotte Tobitt

Archant increased its furlough claim in February to become the top-claiming UK media publisher using the Government scheme supporting jobs during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The regional publisher claimed somewhere between £250,001 and £500,000 from the Government in February – up from the £50,000 to £100,000 band in December and £100,001 to £250,000 in January.

The UK was under a strict lockdown throughout February, which likely affected advertising and circulation sales as well as physical events for those publishers who previously relied on them.

Archant appointed a new chief executive, Lorna Willis, in March. It has not made any pay cuts for staff throughout the pandemic and around 25 jobs lost have been put down to “natural attrition” rather than redundancies.

[Read more: Archant’s new CEO says pandemic gave publisher ‘permission to think differently’]

Fellow regional publishers JPI Media and Midland News Association made the second biggest furlough claims in the UK news media industry in February, of between £100,001 and £250,000 each.

Newsquest also increased its number of furloughed staff in February, going from claiming between £25,001 and £50,000 per month in December and January to between £50,001 and £100,000 in February.

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See below for a full list of UK media companies that used the furlough job retention scheme in February

The news industry as a whole claimed somewhere between £765,018.26 and £1.9m in February. No exact figures are given in the public Government data, only banded ranges.

This means the total value of the claims rose from January, when it was between £535,018 and £1.525m, and December, when it was in the region of £390,000 to £1.18m.

[Read more: Media furlough claims in December, January, March]

The latest increase comes after the Guardian paid back their furlough claim in full, totalling £1.6m, since the last data release.

Also upping their claims from January to February were Time Out England, KM Media Group and Conde Nast. The latter is currently planning to implement a global editorial and commercial strategy resulting in an as-yet unconfirmed number of redundancies.

Belfast Telegraph publisher Independent News and Media and Southwark News both decreased their claims, while Immediate Media London stopped claiming in February although the specialist magazine publisher’s Bristol base continued to make use of the scheme.

[Read more: Immediate Media CEO Tom Bureau on mag giant’s subs-fuelled pandemic rebound]

HMRC has only been able to reveal which companies are making use of the furlough scheme since December, even though it went live in March last year, because of taxpayer confidentiality rules under the Commissioners for Revenue and Customs Act 2005.

Treasury direction made under the Coronavirus Act 2020 in November corrected this and now requires HMRC to name on a monthly basis the employers who have claimed cash and how much.

Reach, the UK’s biggest regional publisher and biggest commercial publisher overall, used the furlough scheme earlier in the pandemic but has not done so since the data releases began.

Aside from the Guardian, others who paid back money to the Government after withstanding the pandemic better than expected include PA Media, The Spectator, The Telegraph, and magazine publisher Future.

Furloughed staff have 80% of their wages up to a maximum of £2,500 a month paid by a combination of the Government and their employer for the time they are off work. Some publishers chose to further top up wages so staff did not lose out.

See below for a full list of UK media companies that used the job retention scheme in February, ranked by their latest claims and with claim totals given in £.

Regional press

Company Dec-20 Jan-21 Feb-21
Archant 50,001 to 100,000 100,001 to 250,000 250,001 to 500,000
JPI Media 100,001 to 250,000 100,001 to 250,000 100,001 to 250,000
Midland News Association 50,001 to 100,000 100,001 to 250,000 100,001 to 250,000
Newsquest 25,001 to 50,000 25,001 to 50,000 50,001 to 100,000
Tindle Devon Newspapers 10,001 to 25,000 25,001 to 50,000 25,001 to 50,000
KM Media Group 10,001 to 25,000 10,001 to 25,000 25,001 to 50,000
City AM 25,001 to 50,000 10,001 to 25,000 10,001 to 25,000
Baylis Media 10,001 to 25,000 10,001 to 25,000 10,001 to 25,000
Highland News and Media 10,001 to 25,000 10,001 to 25,000 10,001 to 25,000
Iliffe Media Publishing 10,001 to 25,000 10,001 to 25,000 10,001 to 25,000
Tindle Newspapers Wales and the Borders 0.01 to 10,000 10,001 to 25,000 10,001 to 25,000
Irish News 10,001 to 25,000 10,001 to 25,000 10,001 to 25,000
Independent News and Media (owner of Belfast Telegraph) 10,001 to 25,000 10,001 to 25,000 0.01 to 10,000
Southwark News 0.01 to 10,000 10,001 to 25,000 0.01 to 10,000
Gazette Newspaper Group 0.01 to 10,000 0.01 to 10,000 0.01 to 10,000
Holderness Newspapers 0.01 to 10,000 0.01 to 10,000 0.01 to 10,000
Iliffe Media 0.01 to 10,000 0.01 to 10,000 0.01 to 10,000
Iliffe Media Group 0.01 to 10,000 0.01 to 10,000 0.01 to 10,000
New Milton News and Media (also Iliffe-owned) 0.01 to 10,000 0.01 to 10,000 0.01 to 10,000
Post Newspapers 0.01 to 10,000 0.01 to 10,000 0.01 to 10,000
Stratford News and Media 0.01 to 10,000 0.01 to 10,000 0.01 to 10,000
Tindle Newspapers 0.01 to 10,000 0.01 to 10,000 0.01 to 10,000
Tindle Newspapers Surrey and Hampshire 0.01 to 10,000 0.01 to 10,000 0.01 to 10,000

Broadcast

Company Dec-20 Jan-21 Feb-21
Bauer Radio 50,001 to 100,000 50,001 to 100,000 50,001 to 100,000
Global Radio (via Global Media Group Services) 0.01 to 10,000 10,001 to 25,000 25,001 to 50,000
Bauer Media Audio 10,001 to 25,000 10,001 to 25,000 10,001 to 25,000
Al Jazeera 0 0.01 to 10,000 0.01 to 10,000
ITN 0.01 to 10,000 0.01 to 10,000 0.01 to 10,000

Digital media

Company Dec-20 Jan-21 Feb-21
Tortoise Media 0 0.01 to 10,000 0.01 to 10,000
Vice 0.01 to 10,000 0.01 to 10,000 0.01 to 10,000

Magazines

Company Dec-20 Jan-21 Feb-21
Time Out England 0.01 to 10,000 25,001 to 50,000 50,001 to 100,000
Conde Nast 0.01 to 10,000 0.01 to 10,000 10,001 to 25,000
Chelsea Magazine Company 0.01 to 10,000 0.01 to 10,000 0.01 to 10,000
Time Out 0.01 to 10,000 0.01 to 10,000 0.01 to 10,000
The Economist 0.01 to 10,000 0.01 to 10,000 0.01 to 10,000
Immediate Media Bristol 0.01 to 10,000 0.01 to 10,000 0.01 to 10,000
Positive News 0.01 to 10,000 0.01 to 10,000 0.01 to 10,000
Immediate Media London 0.01 to 10,000 0.01 to 10,000 0

B2B media

Company Dec-20 Jan-21 Feb-21
William Reed 10,001 to 25,000 10,001 to 25,000 10,001 to 25,000
Incisive Business Media 0.01 to 10,000 0.01 to 10,000 0.01 to 10,000

Specialist news

Company Dec-20 Jan-21 Feb-21
France Media 0.01 to 10,000 0.01 to 10,000 0.01 to 10,000
Haber Weekly Newspaper 0.01 to 10,000 0.01 to 10,000 0.01 to 10,000
Hamodia Newspaper 0.01 to 10,000 0.01 to 10,000 0.01 to 10,000
Jewish Telegraph 0.01 to 10,000 0.01 to 10,000 0.01 to 10,000
The Stage 0.01 to 10,000 0.01 to 10,000 0.01 to 10,000

Picture: Velour Noire/Shutterstock

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