Layla Moran, is calling for an extension of the Government’s furlough scheme as thousands in constituencies across the country are relying on Universal Credit in the wake of “staggering job losses”.
Despite the Chancellor promising last month to do “whatever it takes” to support households and businesses through the worst of the coronavirus outbreak, the Government has so far failed to agree on a plan beyond the end of the furlough scheme on 31 October.
With those relying on Universal Credit increasing by 270% in Oxford West and Abingdon alone since March, the Lib Dems argue that extending furlough would help “stop this crisis getting even worse” and protect jobs for the future until crucially the jobs market is “ready to bounce back”.
Layla and the Liberal Democrats have also warned that some of the worst-hit are the country's self-employed workers, three million of whom are still not covered by support. The Party has called for support to be extended and urged the public to join its campaign to protect jobs.
Layla Moran said: “The Government needs to take responsibility – there are so many families in Oxford West and Abingdon, and right across the country, who need support and job protection.
“The furlough scheme allows vulnerable people and those unable to return to work to have greater security. It’s essential that the Government extends the furlough scheme.
“Financial support must be extended to support the millions of people currently excluded from Government assistance. 2,330 people in my constituency are now relying on Universal Credit. There is an urgent need for the Chancellor to extend the furlough scheme, until at least the middle of next year.”
Christine Jardine MP, Liberal Democrat Treasury spokesperson, added:
“We are seeing staggering job losses, even with the furlough scheme in place. People have a right to expect that their government will stand by them in exactly the way that Rishi Sunak promised when he said he would ‘do whatever it takes’. Ministers need to act now to stop this crisis getting even worse and extend financial support for the millions of people currently excluded from the Government assistance.”
The House of Commons Library analysis of claimant data shows that there were 2,330 Universal Credit claimants in August 2020, an increase of 1,470 from March 2020, with 860 claimants in March 2020. The percentage increase from March 2020 to August 2020 is therefore 270.93%. The latest ONS data for Oxford West and Abingdon is available here.