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CHIEF EXEC: The furlough scheme has been an absolute lifesaver

Nigel Clibbens on what was very welcome support

29 July 2020

Having spoken a lot about the impact Covid-19 has had on both Carlisle United and the wider game in his regular updates, chief executive Nigel Clibbens talked about some of the positive points from a testing few months.

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“The furlough scheme has been an absolute lifesaver for us,” he said. “I had a look at the numbers before we started talking, and between the scheme starting and the end of May we received just over £300,000 of cash into the club over that period.

“The scheme doesn’t finish until October, so that will obviously go up. It’s been really important to us, and we’re really grateful for that support from the government, as I’m sure a lot of businesses are.”

“That money is essentially a grant to help replace the money that we’ve lost, so it doesn’t need to be paid back,” he confirmed. “It’s allowed the club to keep all the staff on board, pay our bills on time and ensure we keep paying the small businesses around the city who do various bits of work for us.

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“The furlough scheme has been very successful, but the issues will come around when it tails off. There are concerns around whether the regular income we used to rely on will come back into clubs and other businesses when the furlough scheme goes away.”

“We had discussions back in February about where this might go, and all along we’ve tried to be patient with long-term decision making,” he explained. “We didn’t want to jump into any decisions that would have any long-term ramifications, but at the same time we wanted to be really quick and decisive on short-term decisions.

“We decided really early on that we would furlough everybody that we possibly could within the club to get costs down, so we could protect jobs. It’s meant that we’ve cut our fixed overheads significantly because we haven’t been operating the stadium.

“We’ve also had cash flow support from the government in terms of things like the VAT. Our VAT quarter was the end of March, and we had a payment to make in April relating to the sale of Jarrad Branthwaite.

“We got cash off Everton for Jarrad in January, which we had to pay to HMRC in April, and which was a significant sum on the transfer fee. In football, even if you don’t get the whole transfer fee up front, which you generally don’t, you get all of the VAT up front. That’s the reasoning behind that payment.”

Click HERE to watch an interview with Nigel Clibbens on iFollow United now.

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