Tory MPs urged to back targeted extension of furlough scheme


Newly-elected Conservative MPs are being urged to back calls for a targeted extension of the furlough scheme to avoid hundreds of thousands of jobs in their constituencies being put at risk.

Labour will lead a debate in the Commons on Wednesday calling on the Government to introduce targeted income support to businesses and self-employed people in sectors which have been most affected by coronavirus.

The party also wants extra income support to be given to areas of the country placed under local lockdown restrictions.

Shadow chancellor Anneliese Dodds said the “one-size-fits-all withdrawal of wage support across the entire economy” next month will threaten half a million jobs in seats won by the Tories at the last general election.

Labour Party analysis suggests 650,000 people were fully furloughed by their employer in the middle of August across the 107 seats won by a new Tory MP in December.

Around 9.5 million roles have been supported by the furlough scheme since March, but it will be removed entirely at the end of October.

Ahead of the opposition day debate, Ms Dodds said: “For months, the Chancellor has ignored calls from businesses, trade unions and the devolved governments to abandon his disastrous one-size-fits-all withdrawal of wage support across the entire economy.

“Unless he changes course now, over half a million jobs could go in constituencies represented by those Conservative MPs who entered Parliament for the first time less than a year ago.

“It’s clear the Chancellor is too stubborn to admit he’s got this wrong. The 2019 Tory intake have the power to force a U-turn on the furlough cliff-edge before it’s too late for the people they represent.

“They should do the right thing and vote to extend income support for jobs and businesses in the hardest-hit sectors and areas under local restrictions.

“If they don’t, sectors vital to the UK’s economic recovery such as highly-skilled manufacturing and the creative industries will suffer.”