Thursday 4 February 2021 / 7:51 PM Anneliese Dodds

Labour calls for “smart” furlough scheme as part of emergency action to tackle Britain’s jobs crisis

Labour’s Shadow Chancellor Anneliese Dodds will call on the Chancellor to introduce a “smart” extension of the furlough scheme to protect jobs as long as health restrictions remain in place, as part of an immediate, emergency Jobs Recovery Package to tackle Britain’s ballooning unemployment crisis.

The Chancellor initially triggered a one-size-fits-all wind down of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) in his Plan for Jobs last July. After several last-minute changes over the autumn and winter, the scheme is now set to expire at the end of April. 

With 4.6 million people still on furlough, Labour is calling for the Chancellor not to repeat the mistakes of last year by winding down the scheme while public health restrictions are in place and demand is still severely impacted.

Labour is calling for Sunak to immediately announce an extension to the furlough scheme alongside urgent reform to make it smarter, with new training to help furloughed workers improve their skills and tough conditions on employers to stop abuse.

Dodds is also demanding immediate action to recover jobs by overhauling the failing Kickstart scheme and to help create clean new jobs by reforming the shambolic Green Homes Grant.

Seven months after Sunak launched his Plan for Jobs last July, redundancies are at record highs, 1.7 million people are out of work and 4.6 million people are still on furlough.

Anneliese Dodds, Labour’s Shadow Chancellor, said:

“Rishi Sunak’s Plan for Jobs has been a disaster. Seven months after its launch, we’ve got record redundancies, soaring unemployment and the worst economic crisis of any major economy. 

“We need urgent action to secure, recover and create jobs. This must include a smarter furlough scheme, an overhaul of the failing Kickstart youth programme, and reform of the shambolic Green Homes Grant as part of wider action to ‘Build it in Britain’ and support the creation of 400,000 clean, new jobs.

“People can’t afford to wait for the Chancellor to get his act together. They need emergency action today, not more dither and delay until the Budget.”