MP welcomes 'lifeline' furlough scheme extension

AN EXTENSION to the UK Government furlough scheme will provide a lifeline to many Dumfries and Galloway businesses.


Welcoming the announcement, constituency MP Alister Jack described the measure as a key component in helping the region's economy recover from the Covid-19 health crisis.


Alister Jack

He said: "I know many employers in my constituency are relieved that the scheme is being extended for another four months.


"This should help safeguard jobs and, from the start of August, some furloughed workers will be able to return to work on a part-time basis with employers paying a percentage towards salaries."


The extension was announced on Tuesday by Chancellor Rishi Sunak and takes forward the existing scheme in which the taxpayer meets 80-per-cent of the salary of furloughed workers up to a maximum £2,500 a month.


Mr Jack, who is Secretary of State for Scotland, acknowledged there were great challenges ahead but predicted the latest phased adjustment offered the best prospects of more businesses returning over time to normal trading.


He explained he was keeping in contact with employers in his constituency and monitoring the impact of the crisis in all sectors, including food, tourism, manufacturing, agriculture and fishing.


Mr Jack stated the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (furloughing) and the other packages such as grants and loans should assist enterprises of varying sizes.


He said: "The support programmes, some administered through the Scottish Government and the local authority, should give reassurance to businesses and individuals and, when the time is right, help people safely back to work.


"The UK Government has listened carefully before bringing in this extension and will continue to do so going forward."