Shabana Mahmood – MP for Birmingham Ladywood – has raised the alarm that 9,665 jobs in Birmingham Ladywood could be at risk if the Government takes no action to implement a new ‘smart’ furlough scheme.
Seven months after the UK Chancellor, Rishi Sunak MP, launched his ‘Plan for Jobs’ last July, 14,380 people are claiming out of work benefits and 9,665 people are still on furlough in Birmingham Ladywood.
The Chancellor initially triggered a one-size-fits-all wind down of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) in his Plan for Jobs last July. After several last-minute changes over the autumn and winter, the scheme is now set to expire at the end of April.
Shabana is calling for the immediate announcement that the furlough scheme will be extended to remove uncertainty for local businesses and workers. She is also calling for urgent reform to make furlough smarter, with new training to help furloughed workers improve their skills and tough conditions on employers to stop abuse.
Labour’s figures also show that 3,600 people in Birmingham Ladywood had made claims under the Coronavirus Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS) by the end of July. Shabana Mahmood MP is deeply concerned that those who are self-employed are being forgotten by the Government and that is why she wants to see the SEISS fourth grant to be set at 80% of pre-crisis profits – and to do it now, not at the Budget.
Shabana Mahmood, MP for Birmingham Ladywood, said:
“The failure of the Chancellor to put in place a long-lasting plan should worry all of us. A shocking number of people could lose their jobs in the coming months because the Government has not thought about the time it takes for a business to implement furlough funding changes.
“In Birmingham Ladywood we have nearly 10,000 people currently on furlough. We need to see a smarter furlough scheme announced today to ensure that employees are protected and businesses can plan their future.
“Time and time again, the Government has dithered and delayed. We have seen it over lockdown and schools and now we are seeing it when it comes to furlough. There is a growing crisis within the self-employed sector and if the gaps are not filled between Government support and their income we will only see more businesses and jobs lost.”