Burnley MP praises government's flexible furlough scheme

New figures show that nearly a million workers returned to their jobs part-time in the first month flexible furlough was introduced – including 99,700 in the North West.

Tuesday, 22nd September 2020, 12:30 pm

Flexible furlough began on July 1st - giving businesses the flexibility to bring employees back part-time, with the government paying 80% of their wages for the hours not worked.

The furlough scheme has protected more than 9.6 million jobs across the UK since the scheme launched earlier this year, including 1,035,600 in the North West.

Burnley MP Antony Higginbotham said: “It’s fantastic to see so many businesses opening their doors again and returning their furloughed staff back on either a full-time or part-time basis.

Burnley MP Antony Higginbotham

“The furlough scheme has been hugely successful in the Burnley and Padiham – protecting 13,100 jobs which may otherwise have been at risk. Now, as we move into the next phase of our response to coronavirus, we want to help employers keep people on.

"Our Job Retention Bonus will do exactly that, supporting businesses to do the right thing. If all those furloughed in Burnley and Padiham were brought back that would be a cash injection of over £13m. into our local economy, helping businesses to recover from the impact of coronavirus."

However, last month Labour and leading welfare thinktank the Resolution Foundation have called on the government to extend furlough subsidies for the hardest-hit industries as employers are forced to make financial contributions towards temporarily laid-off workers.

And in this week's Labour online conference, Shadow Chancellor Anneliese Dodds called on the Government to act quickly to rebuild business in the wake of the coronavirus crisis, while accusing it of wasting billions.

She said: "Without effective Government action, many companies will go to the wall with more job losses and more costs for the public finances.

“That is why I am calling today for the Chancellor to act urgently and put in place a business rebuilding programme."

Defending the Government's furlough scheme Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak said: "These figures show the success of our furlough scheme in doing what we set it up to do – to make sure people’s jobs were there for them to return to.

“That so many businesses have been able to get back to trading, and bring their staff back to the workplace is a testament to the impact the scheme has had.”