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March 30, 2021updated 30 Sep 2022 10:10am

News publishers increase furlough claims: Al Jazeera and Tortoise join those needing UK gov support

By Charlotte Tobitt

Regional publishers JPI Media, Archant and Midland News Association topped furlough claims for the UK news media industry in January.

Each publisher claimed between £100,001 and £250,000 from the Government’s job retention scheme in January, when the UK went back into lockdown amid a surge of Covid-19 cases and deaths.

Archant and MNA had upped their furlough payments from between £50,001 and £100,000 in December. JPI was already in the higher band at the end of the year.

As a whole, the news industry claimed somewhere between £535,018.25 and £1.525m in January.

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

In December it claimed between £390,000 and £1.18m. No exact figures are given in the public Government data – only banded ranges.

City AM was the only media company that reduced the size of its claim to the extent it fell into another band – from claiming between £25,000 and £50,000 in December to somewhere between £10,001 and £25,000.

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The business title, which has now been digital-only for a year and hopes to return in print before the autumn, made nine redundancies in editorial during October.

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

There were just two media companies that were not using the furlough scheme in December but did so in January: broadcaster Al Jazeera and slow news start-up Tortoise Media, both claiming amounts up to £10,000.

A number of other companies increased their claims in January, potentially because of the extra lockdown restrictions: regional publishers Tindle Devon Newspapers and Southwark News, magazine publisher Time Out and LBC owner Global Radio.

The Guardian continued to be the only national newspaper publisher with staff on furlough, in the £50,001 to £100,000 band.

Some others used the scheme earlier in the pandemic, including the UK’s largest commercial publisher Reach, and the Telegraph which returned the payments it had received after strong subscriptions growth helped it stay in profit.

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.

See below for a full list of UK media companies that used the job retention scheme in January, with claim total given in £.

National press

Company Dec 20 Jan 21
Guardian News and Media 50,001 to 100,000 50,001 to 100,000

Regional press

Company Dec 20 Jan 21
JPI Media 100,001 to 250,000 100,001 to 250,000
Archant 50,001 to 100,000 100,001 to 250,000
Midland News Association 50,001 to 100,000 100,001 to 250,000
Newsquest 25,001 to 50,000 25,001 to 50,000
Tindle Devon Newspapers 10,001 to 25,000 25,001 to 50,000
City AM 25,001 to 50,000 10,001 to 25,000
Baylis Media 10,001 to 25,000 10,001 to 25,000
Highland News and Media 10,001 to 25,000 10,001 to 25,000
Iliffe Media Publishing 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
Irish News 10,001 to 25,000 10,001 to 25,000
KM Media Group 10,001 to 25,000 10,001 to 25,000
Southwark News 0.01 to 10,000 10,001 to 25,000
Gazette Newspaper Group 0.01 to 10,000 0.01 to 10,000
Holderness Newspapers 0.01 to 10,000 0.01 to 10,000
Iliffe Media 0.01 to 10,000 0.01 to 10,000
Iliffe Media Group 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
Newbury Weekly News (bought by Iliffe Media in 2019) 0.01 to 10,000 0.01 to 10,000
Post Newspapers 0.01 to 10,000 0.01 to 10,000
Stratford News and Media 0.01 to 10,000 0.01 to 10,000
Tindle Newspapers 0.01 to 10,000 0.01 to 10,000

Broadcast media

Company Dec 20 Jan 21
Bauer Media Audio 10,001 to 25,000 10,001 to 25,000
Global Radio 0.01 to 10,000 10,001 to 25,000
Al Jazeera £0.00 0.01 to 10,000
ITN 0.01 to 10,000 0.01 to 10,000

Digital media

Company Dec 20 Jan 21
Tortoise Media £0.00 0.01 to 10,000
Vice 0.01 to 10,000 0.01 to 10,000

Magazines

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

B2B

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

Specialist news

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

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