Furlough extension welcomed in Portsmouth but concerns raised over lockdown roadmap timeframe

A PUBLICAN has said he is worried that the extension of the furlough scheme means the hospitality industry may take longer to get up and running.

Wednesday, 3rd March 2021, 10:09 am
Updated Wednesday, 3rd March 2021, 3:08 pm
Chancellor of the exchequer Rishi Sunak is to announce the extension of the furlough scheme until the end of September as part of the government's budget plans. Getty Images

As part of the government’s budget plans the chancellor Rishi Sunak will extend the current furlough scheme until the end of September.

Hole in the Wall pub landlord Jon McKerracher welcomed the continued protection this will provide for his 10 members of staff who are currently furloughed.

But he is concerned about the potential implications of the extension.

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He said: ‘It is a good thing as it protects jobs but what it also says to me is that we may not be fully reopening hospitality and getting back to normal until October.’

Mr Sunak will detail his budget in the House of Commons today.

Responding to the news, Conservative MP for Havant Alan Mak said: ‘Furlough has protected millions of jobs since last March including thousands across the Havant Constituency so I welcome its extension.

‘There’s now light at the end of the tunnel with a roadmap for reopening and the government will continue to help businesses and individuals through the challenging months ahead.’

Fellow Conservative MP for Gosport Caroline Dinenage added: ‘The decision to extend the furlough scheme until the end of September will help millions and is just one of the unprecedented measures taken today by the government to support jobs and businesses in the months ahead.’

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The decision has also been welcomed by Portsmouth City Council leader Gerald Vernon-Jackson who added: ‘This is an excellent idea which will be a lifeline to local firms and their employees.’

The scheme, which pays 80 per cent of wages for those employees unable to work due to the pandemic, was due to finish at the end of April.

Portsmouth South MP Stephen Morgan has welcomed the news but believes it should have been announced earlier.

Mr Morgan said: ‘The extension to the furlough scheme should have happened months ago and is something I have been clear on for some time.

‘The certainty for local businesses and jobs this could have brought had it been announced earlier would have been a lifeline for many.

‘Instead, the chancellor seems keen to play politics with this when it could have been revealed much earlier and not at his budget announcement.’

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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