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The Government's latest furlough U-turn still doesn't go far enough

November 5, 2020 4:00 PM
Originally published by UK Liberal Democrats

After the Government announced a last-minute extension to the furlough scheme on October 31st, I warned the Chief Treasury Secretary that it wouldn't be sufficient since, sadly, the coronavirus pandemic would not be going away at the end of November.

This delay will have cost businesses and individuals an untold amount.

Now, not even a week after their announcement, Rishi Sunak has extended furlough further - this time, to March 2021 - and yet again, he has failed to go far enough.

While it is welcome that the Government has listened to the Liberal Democrats' calls, it was clear to everyone that the furlough scheme needed to be extended to stop people falling into poverty. Until now the Chancellor had stubbornly and cold-heartedly refused.

This is yet another example of the Government's incompetence and indecision delaying the action the country needs.

If Ministers are to support all those in need, furlough must be extended to June 2021.

Rather than extending the furlough scheme to June 2021 as we have continuously urged him to do, the Chancellor has made piecemeal changes before finally making the necessary U-turn today.

This delay will have cost businesses and individuals an untold amount as they were left in uncertainty at the hands of this Government.

The Liberal Democrats are clear that the furlough scheme must remain in place until June 2021 if Ministers are to support all those in need. So far, the Chancellor's knee-jerk reactions have left far too many wondering how they will put food on the table, rather than ensuring no-one is left behind as he promised.