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MP Warns Against End of Furlough

Highland Perthshire’s MP, Pete Wishart, is warning the government of his concerns that ending furlough could see the end of jobs in the local area.

According to the latest HMRC data, there are 116,500 jobs still in furlough, with 1,800 of those coming from Perth and North Perthshire.

The number of people furloughed in Scotland fell by 20% between the end of May and the end of June and a further 20% between the end of June and the end of July.

Now Mr Wishart is concerned that 75,000 could still be relying on furlough by September 30 when furlough comes to an end.

Perth and North Perthshire MP Pete Wishart said: “It is vital that the Chancellor finally listens to SNP calls to extend the furlough scheme and deliver financial support for hard hit businesses and sectors. There is now a very real danger that Tory complacency on jobs could result in rising redundancies in Perthshire and across the UK.

“With thousands of Scottish jobs under threat from Tory cuts, including 1800 at risk in Perth and North Perthshire, I am urging Rishi Sunak to ensure the UK government does not withdraw support for jobs and businesses abruptly and prematurely. This is especially important, given the risks of covid this winter and the fragile state of the UK economy. 

“Too many people have been left behind by Westminster throughout the pandemic. The UK government must not create a Tory unemployment crisis, which could see thousands of people made redundant and left on the scrap heap, at the same time that Tory ministers raise taxes and slash Universal Credit by £1040. 

“Scotland’s recovery is increasingly under threat from damaging Tory cuts and tax hikes. The only way to keep Scotland safe is to become an independent country, with the full powers needed to build a strong, fair and equal recovery.”

However, the chancellor, Rishi Sunak, is setting out Britain’s ‘levelling up’ plans, which look to elevate the parts of country which haven’t seen the prosperity enjoyed by parts such as London.

This means shifting investment into the areas of the country which specialise in agriculture and fishing.

Speaking on BBC Breakfast, Mr Sunak explained: “If you look at for example, unemployment rates, historic investment that people have had, there’s a range of criteria that are taken into account in the same way when we were thinking about free port locations.

“We look at the area’s unemployment rate, for example, we look at the deliverability of the bid. So you’ve seen eight different regions benefit from free ports, whether it’s Liverpool, Southampton, or Teesside.

“But what we mean is we want to get money to places where we want to level up opportunity. That’s what we promised to do when we were elected a couple of years ago, we’re making good on that promise.”

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