Calls for furlough scheme replacement

Calls for furlough scheme replacement

Calls for furlough scheme replacement

Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer has called on the government to replace the furlough scheme.

Despite the rapid decline in employment caused by the pandemic, the jobs of around 10 million workers have been saved by the furlough scheme since March.

But now, it is set to end on 31 October, and is expected to cause mass unemployment.

At the peak of the pandemic and in the three months leading up to July, the unemployment rate grew to 4.1%.

This is compared with 3.9% previously.

To avoid further losses, Sir Keir Starmer has made the case for replacing the job retention or furlough scheme.

Under it, employees can be placed on leave due to virus restrictions, and are eligible to receive 80% of their pay.

Calling for urgent cross-party talks, Sir Starmer added:

“We all know the furlough scheme can’t go on as it is forever, but the truth is the virus is still with us and infections are increasing.

“It just isn’t possible to get back to work or reopen businesses. It isn’t a choice. It’s the cold reality of this crisis.

“So it makes no sense at all for the government to pull support away now in one fell swoop.”

But the government has been reluctant to extend the furlough scheme.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson arguing that it would only keep people “in suspended animation”.

Briefing the Cabinet this morning, Chancellor Rishi Sunak said that “indefinitely keeping people out of work is not the answer”.

He added, however, that “helping people get back into, or finding new work” was his “number one priority”, and reminded his colleagues of the significant financial cost that has already been made to make the scheme possible thus far.

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