Portsmouth MP calls for furlough extension claiming that 33,000 jobs could be at risk

MORE than 33,000 people still on furlough must be protected by government extending the job retention scheme, an MP has said.

Thursday, 11th February 2021, 11:45 am

Labour MP Stephen Morgan has called on chancellor Rishi Sunak to introduce a smarter furlough scheme and continue the temporary VAT reduction for the hospitality, tourism and culture sectors.

The Portsmouth South representative said figures compiled by the opposition show more than 15,000 people are still furloughed in Portsmouth.

There are a further 5,700 in Gosport, 6,800 in Fareham and 6,000 in Havant.

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Portsmouth South MP Stephen Morgan. Picture: Habibur Rahman

Mr Morgan warned the jobs ‘could be at risk’ without the changes made before the budget due on March 3.

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The furlough scheme is currently set to expire at the end of April, with the five per cent reduced VAT rate set to end on March 31.

Mr Morgan said: ‘We need urgent action to secure, recover and create jobs to help those on furlough to get back into work, as well as to help those claiming out of work benefits to find new employment.

‘Extending the furlough scheme and providing tax relief to the hardest hit businesses will give workers and SMEs in Portsmouth the certainty they need to support their recovery.

‘People need emergency action today, not more dither and delay until the budget.’

But Conservatives have called for calm as the government has pledged to continue supporting people beyond the March and April deadlines.

Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage said: ‘This has been such a tough time for our local businesses, and the furlough scheme has been a lifeline.

‘The current scheme lasts until the end of April, but the prime minister confirmed yesterday that the government will continue to support business, people and livelihoods beyond that.

‘The chancellor will set out further detail in the budget on March 3.’

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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