New analysis by the Labour Party estimates that 5,011 people in Wentworth & Dearne were still furloughed by their employer in late January.
And seven months after Chancellor Rishi Sunak launched his ‘Plan for Jobs’ last July, 3,955 people are claiming out of work benefits.
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 rumours suggesting it might be extended.
With 4.6 million people still on furlough nationally, 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.
Instead, Labour wants Sunak to immediately announce an extension to the furlough scheme, to remove uncertainty for local businesses and workers. They are also calling for urgent reform to make furlough smarter, with new training to help furloughed workers improve their skills and tough conditions on employers to stop abuse.
Labour’s figures also show that 3,400 people in Wentworth & Dearne had made claims under the Coronavirus Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS) by the end of July. The Chancellor has left millions of self-employed people relying on the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS) scheme in the dark about future support.
Labour is calling on the Chancellor to set the fourth grant of the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS) at 80% of pre-crisis profits – and to do it now, not at the Budget.
Labour has also called for the scheme to opened to the 200,000 people who only have a 2019/20 tax return, and for the Chancellor to urgently fix the holes its support schemes that have left millions of others excluded from support.
John Healey MP said: “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 to help nearly 4,000 people in our area claiming out of work benefits and more than 5,000 people still on furlough. 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 new jobs.
“People need emergency action today, not more dither and delay until the Budget in March.”