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‘There will be difficult times ahead’: MPs react as figures show almost 30,000 are furloughed in Havering

PUBLISHED: 07:00 16 June 2020

L-R: Dagenham and Rainham MP Jon Cruddas and Hornchurch and Upminster MP Julia Lopez. Picture: Parliament TV

L-R: Dagenham and Rainham MP Jon Cruddas and Hornchurch and Upminster MP Julia Lopez. Picture: Parliament TV

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Havering’s constituencies have seen almost 30,000 jobs furloughed, figures show.

Romford has an estimated 12,100 workers on the coronavirus job retention scheme (CJRS) which provides grants to employers of up to 80 per cent of salary to a maximum £2,500 per employee.

Hornchurch and Upminster has 12,000 benefiting while Dagenham and Rainham has 13,000 employees on the scheme due to continue until the end of October.

This compares to 29,300 in nearby West Ham which has the highest number on furlough in the capital.

The total for Havering is 28,900 after excluding Dagenham workers, according to an analysis by HMRC.

Julia Lopez, MP for Hornchurch and Upminster, said: “The next stage of our task must be to ensure as many people on furlough as possible have jobs to go back to as the scheme winds down.

“That means reopening the economy, and having in place the testing, trace and health systems that give people the confidence to return to everyday life.

“The jobs-rich retail sector is coming back this week. Then we must try to get hospitality up and running again.

“There will be difficult times ahead as we assess the long-term impact of all this and we shall need to look at how to support people with new skills, get the economy growing again and incentivise companies to take workers on.

“The scale and speed of support from the furlough scheme was unprecedented.

“We cannot know for sure how its withdrawal will play out but we do know that the impact of the virus on the economy would have been far graver if furlough - and the huge package of other support measures - had not been introduced at lightning speed back in March.”

The scheme is based around HMRC’s pay as you earn (PAYE) system. To qualify, employers need to have created a PAYE scheme by March 19.

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From July 1, employers can bring employees back to work who were furloughed for any amount of time and any shift pattern, while still being able to claim the grant for their normal hours not worked.

Romford MP Andrew Rosindell said: “The furlough scheme has been a huge life line to so many individuals and businesses, it is a credit to the government, and particularly the chancellor, Rishi Sunak, for getting this up and running in such a short space of time.

“This scheme has never been done before and for something so new it has worked so well. Myself and my team have been helping countless numbers of people and businesses with this scheme and others to make sure that they are financially stable.

“Of course the recent figures show a large number of applicants for the scheme in Romford. This demonstrates that people trust the scheme and that it works for people.

“As the country gets moving again with many people going back to work, the furlough scheme will gradually be phased out. However I will continue to support people throughout this transitional period, and beyond that.

“It is thanks to the furlough scheme that so many individuals, families and businesses have been able to get through this crisis. It is now the time to get Britain working again so that our economic recovery is swift.”

Jon Cruddas MP said the scheme has been a lifeline for thousands across Dagenham and Rainham, but the system has not been without its flaws, not least for those in hospitality who rely on tronc payments and tips.

Mr Cruddas said: “As we ease out of lockdown and businesses start to reopen, we will see people making a staggered return to work.

“Thankfully after much lobbying the government agreed to extend the furlough scheme till October which should give ample time for things to start looking normal again.

“However, there is still a concern that we could face a second spike of the virus, and if that happens obviously there will need to be discussions about further extensions to the scheme.”

A Treasury spokesperson said: “We have provided a generous and wide-ranging package of support for businesses. Our job retention scheme has helped a million employers and protected 8.9 million jobs.

“As well as furloughing staff, we’ve introduced a wide range of other targeted support measures for different sectors, including bounce back loans and tax deferrals, business rates holidays and more than £10 billion of grants to businesses.”

Almost all of the country’s 650 MPs have at least 10,000 constituents furloughed.

HMRC’s analysis covers the start of the scheme until May 31.


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