Campaigning to keep furlough

I joined 1,200 council leaders, mayors and councillors across the country in calling on the Prime Minister to rethink the plan to scrap furlough and urging the government to introduce targeted financial support instead.

Below is the letter I signed to the Prime Minister.

Dear Prime Minister,

Ref: The protection of UK jobs and businesses

Our country is facing an unprecedented jobs crisis. The Office for Budget Responsibility predicts that, by the end of this year, nearly one in eight of the UK’s workforce will be unemployed. Your government’s plan to end furlough outright is over-simplistic and will only exacerbate the problem – it puts millions of jobs at risk.

That is why we are supporting the Alliance for Full Employment and the Daily Mirror’s ‘Keep Britain Working’ campaign. We need a financial support system that targets industries worst hit by the pandemic; supports any areas under local lockdown restrictions; and ensures incomes for people who are forced to self-isolate, including for those who are self-employed.

Without targeted support for sectors and local lockdown areas that have been badly affected by the pandemic, viable businesses will fail and employment will be lost. This will extinguish any hopes of a quick economic recovery from the deep recession we are facing.

And it is not only the economic impact of your decisions that is of grave concern to us. If you do not provide support for areas under local lockdown and ensure incomes for people who are self isolating, your government will help create the conditions in which the virus will spread. The £95 a week Statutory Sick Pay currently offered to those self isolating is woefully inadequate – if it is not possible for people to work from home, the British public will be left with the impossible choice of not earning or breaking the isolation rules. In short, you are risking the health of workers and their families if you refuse to protect their livelihoods.

As councillors and local representatives, we are extremely concerned about the impact that the blanket withdrawal of furlough will have on our communities and we urge you to reconsider in order to save jobs, and to save lives.

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