Mother London returns government furlough payments

Mother London has voluntarily reimbursed all furlough payments received via the UK government’s Job Retention Scheme to HMRC. A six-figure sum was paid to the independent creative shop to help it weather the initial shock of the pandemic but subsequent strong trading saw it in a position to return the cash. Michael Wall, global chief executive of Mother, explained: “As our year went on, and thanks to the hard work and commitment of our team, we found ourselves in the fortunate position of not needing the financial support. So we’re returning the money.”

How Mother navigated the pandemic

  • Mother has weathered the financial storm wrought by Covid-19 better than most, navigating the period of disruption without having to make a single redundancy thanks to decisive early action.

  • This was achieved by inviting employees on salaries of £30k and above to defer part of their wages, which will now be paid in December.

  • In tandem, the agency also identified 32 positions covered by the Job Retention Scheme as they were difficult to perform with social distancing restrictions – all of whom returned to work before the scheme ended.

  • Both moves proved decisive, with Mother rapidly regaining its composure following the initial shock. It has since grown its client base over the year.

Why it matters

  • Mother is believed to be the first agency to return unneeded furlough cash and follows the lead of businesses in other sectors who have already reimbursed the government.

  • Tesco scored a significant PR win after handing back £585m in business rates relief, prompting Sainsbury’s, Asda, Morrisons, Aldi and Lidl to quickly follow.