Boris Johnson rules out extending furlough scheme beyond October 


‘We can’t keep people in suspended animation’: Boris Johnson rules out extending furlough scheme beyond October

  • The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will come to an end on October 31
  • It has cost £40billion so far, but has helped to pay the wages of almost 11 million
  • The announcement comes despite repeated calls to extend the scheme further
  • Labour leader insisted the PM must help sectors that cannot return to normal

Boris Johnson ruled out extending the furlough scheme yesterday, insisting that it was not in workers’ interests to keep them in ‘suspended animation’.

The Prime Minister has faced repeated calls to extend the scheme to help specific sectors of the economy which are unable to restart fully.

But he insisted yesterday that ‘indefinite furlough’ was not the answer to the woes that the economy faces. 

Boris Johnson, pictured during Wednesday’s Prime Minister’s Questions in the House of Commons, has said the government will not be extended the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, which is set to come to an end on October 31

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has cost £40billion so far, and has helped to pay the wages of nearly 11million people.

Workers placed on leave have been able to receive 80 per cent of their pay, up to a maximum of £2,500 a month.

The scheme will end on October 31, but opposition MPs have urged the Government to extend it – despite warnings about tax rises. 

Yesterday Mr Johnson ruled out an extension after Labour MP Kate Osborne asked him do as other countries have done and continue the scheme.

He replied: ‘I don’t think that’s the right thing. I think the best way forward for our country is to get people as far as we possibly can back into work.’

He also faced repeated calls to extend the scheme during Prime Minister’s Questions.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer insisted the Prime Minister must help sectors of the economy which cannot return to normal during the pandemic.

He said: ‘The jobs of millions of people are at risk, the longer he delays, the more they’re at risk, so will he act, finally get this decision right and commit to extend the furlough for those sectors and those workers that desperately need it?’

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer, pictured during Wednesday's Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons, insisted that the government must continue to help industries that are yet unable to return to normal during the pandemic

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer, pictured during Wednesday’s Prime Minister’s Questions in the House of Commons, insisted that the government must continue to help industries that are yet unable to return to normal during the pandemic

Mr Johnson responded: ‘We are getting people back to work, what he wants to do is extend the furlough scheme on which this country has already spent £40 billion, what we would rather do is get people into work through our kick start scheme which we are launching today with £2 billion to spend, to support people, young people in particular to get the jobs that they need.

‘He wants to keep people out of work in suspended animation, we want to move this country forward, that’s the difference between him and us.’

SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford said ending the scheme would lead to unemployment levels last seen under Margaret Thatcher in the early 1980s.

Mr Johnson replied: ‘What we want to do is get people back to work and that’s why I hope he (Mr Blackford) will instead support our Kickstarter scheme to get young people into jobs and support them in those jobs.

‘How much better is that than languishing out of work?’

Labour’s Sir Keir earlier said: ‘The jobs of millions of people are at risk, the longer he delays, the more they’re at risk, so will he act, finally get this decision right and commit to extend the furlough for those sectors and those workers that desperately need it?

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