Jarrow MP goes head to head with Boris Johnson over call for furlough scheme extension

Jarrow MP Kate Osborne has crossed swords with Prime Minister Boris Johnson in the House of Commons – calling for an extension to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

Wednesday, 2nd September 2020, 5:47 pm
Updated Wednesday, 2nd September 2020, 5:48 pm
Jarrow MP Kate Osborne has crossed swords with Prime Minister Boris Johnson in the House of Commons

In an exchange during Prime Minister’s Questions, she claimed he was “waffling” over economic policy.

And she also urged him to extend the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, which supports businesses but ends next month.

Later, after her demands around the scheme were publicly rejected by Mr Johnson, she claimed he was oblivious to the economic impact of coronavirus on employees.

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She said: “The Prime Minister simply doesn’t care and tried to shift the blame onto the workers and that is simply not the case.

“The Government must act and extend the job retention scheme beyond October to prevent a large number of devastating job losses, not just in my constituency but across the country.

“I’m not asking for the furlough scheme to be indefinite, but we are still living through a public health crisis, and businesses cannot operate as normal.

“This pandemic is not over. There needs to be an extension of the furlough scheme for this reason or we will see mass redundancies.

“Other countries such as France, Germany, Holland and Ireland have taken decisive action until next year to protect their economies.”

During their Commons’ exchange, she told Mr Johnson: “Low public confidence and social distancing measures means many businesses are struggling.

“If the job retention scheme ends in October there will be catastrophic consequences for workers, businesses and the economy.”

In reply to her Commons question, Mr Johnson retorted that it was not the “right thing” to keep people on furlough.

He added: “I think the best way forward for our country is to get people, as far as we possibly can, back into work.

“Already £160bn has been spent to support the economy throughout the crisis.

“We will continue, as I said, to put our arms around the entire people to keep them going throughout this crisis.

“But furlough, indefinite furlough, is not the answer.”

The retention scheme began in March and currently pays 70 percent of wages up to a cap of £2,187.50.

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