The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak has responded to The Workers Union and extended the furlough scheme until the end of March.
The move represents a massive u-turn on behalf of the government, with the previous plan to wind-up the support scheme shelved amidst rising cases of Coronavirus and a second lockdown.
The chancellor said that the ‘security we are providing will protect millions of jobs.’
Meanwhile The Treasury has been reluctant to put a definitive price on extending the scheme. However it suggests that £1 billion a month per million furloughed staff may be a reasonable estimate, depending on take up.
The Workers Union Says
This is a sensible, if long-overdue measure that will help thousands of people sleep in the knowledge that they can pay their bills. The tragedy is that it took so long to get here. We have been calling for furlough to be extended for months – so why has it taken another lockdown for the government to listen?
The answer can doubtless be found in classic Tory fears about the economy. Rather than commit to helping people negotiate this crisis, they’ve given the impression that reactive, fag-packet policy-making is their preferred response. Rather than make the right moves at the right time, they’ve allowed their economic anxieties to put jobs and people at risk.
So we say to the government, you could have averted this situation months ago. It was clear that Coronavirus wasn’t going anywhere. It was clear that sectors of our economy were on their knees. The next time the chancellor argues that furlough is a ‘blunt instrument’, he should consider the effects of inaction on our aviation and hospitality industries.
Mr Johnson and his cabinet must realise that this is the time for bravery not dogma. They have taken a courageous first step: now they must see the job though.
The Workers Union – Britain’s hardest working union