New analysis by the Labour Party estimates that 11,500 people were still fully furloughed by their employer in the middle of August in Crawley.
This means 44 per cent of workers in these constituencies who were moved onto the Government’s Coronavirus Jobs Retention Scheme (CJRS) in the early phase of the Covid-19 crisis remain fully furloughed by their employer over four months later.
Labour’s figures also show that 4,500 people in the same constituencies had made claims under the Coronavirus Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS) by the end of July.
Despite this, Chancellor Rishi Sunak is pushing ahead with his one-size-fits-all withdrawal of both the CJRS and SEISS schemes across the entire economy by the end of October.
People will lose support even if their business are not yet back to normal or if they live in an area subject to new local restrictions – and regardless of how important the sector they work in is to the long-term health of the economy.
With just weeks to go until the Government support schemes end for good, over a million workers in these new Tory seats face an uncertain future unless their MPs force the Chancellor into a U-turn.
Labour will today offer them a chance to do that by holding a vote on a targeted extension of the CJRS and SEISS schemes beyond the Chancellor’s 31 October cliff edge.
Labour’s motion for today’s Opposition Day Debate calls on the Government to introduce targeted income support to businesses and self-employed people in the sectors of the economy hit hardest hit by the virus, and in areas of the country placed under local restrictions due to rising rates of infection.
This targeted extension is vital for sectors that are critical to the UK’s economic recovery. If the Government chooses to oppose Labour’s motion today, people in Crawley people who are in jobs hardest hit by the pandemic, like the 14750 working people with jobs in air travel, restaurants, and hospitality & tourism, will be wondering why this government doesn’t seem to care about their livelihood.
Many other countries’ schemes last longer or have been extended. The UK is an outlier in fully withdrawing the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme after only six months:
• Germany has extended the coronavirus furlough scheme to 24 months
• France’s “temporary unemployment” scheme to avert mass bankruptcies and lay-offs as a result of the coronavirus crisis will be extended, and is now expected to last up to two years
• The Netherlands has recently extended by 9 months their short-time working scheme
• Australia has extended their ‘JobKeeper’ payment until March 2021
• Ireland’s Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme lasts until March 2021
Cllr Peter Lamb
Leader Crawley Borough Council