Starmer to call for targeted furlough scheme

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

Photo credit: Rwendland (Wikimedia Commons)
Photo credit: Rwendland (Wikimedia Commons)

Related tags: Job Retention Scheme, Coronavirus, Labour

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer is to call for the Government's Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (JRS) to be replaced by a more flexible system to avoid mass unemployment.

The Financial Times​ reports that Starmer is due to tell the annual TUC Congress today (15 September) that the Government should replace the furlough scheme with a targeted system providing support both to sectors still suffering because of the crisis and areas hit by local lockdowns. 

With the JRS due to end on 31 October, he is expected to warn of the 'scarring effect mass unemployment will have on communities and families across the country'.

Meanwhile, the British Chambers of Commerce has written to Prime Minister Boris Johnson calling for a new package of business support to avoid 'significant levels' of business failures and long-term economic scarring. 

The letter, from group president Ruby Mcgregor-Smith, said the Government needed to provide support for businesses suffering because of local restrictions alongside a comprehensive business package, including a reduction on national insurance costs.

Starmer's call comes a week after Labour warned that a blanket withdrawal of the JRS will leave many pubs and bars at risk of closure​, accelerating job losses and damaging high streets and night life across the country.

The party called for furlough support to be extended and targeted at the industries still under threat, and for business grants underspend to be redeployed as part of a 'Hospitality and High Street Fightback Fund'.

Related topics: Business

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