Call to extend furlough as almost 9,000 in Dagenham and Rainham still claim
- Credit: Andrew Achilleos
An MP has called on Rishi Sunak to extend the furlough scheme as figures show more than 8,000 are still receiving government help.
Dagenham and Rainham's Labour MP, Jon Cruddas, also slammed the chancellor's job creation and retention plan, labelling it a "disaster".
Mr Cruddas 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 to help 6,585 people claiming out of work benefits and 8,710 people still on furlough in Dagenham and Rainham."
The furlough figure is based on a Labour estimate.
A Treasury spokesperson said: "We’ve invested more than £280billion throughout the pandemic to protect millions of jobs and businesses - and extended our self-employed and furlough schemes through to April so that people have certainty that help is in place.
"At the upcoming budget we’ll outline the next stages of our Plan for Jobs to support businesses and families across the UK, including in Dagenham and Rainham.
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"That has been our priority throughout the past year and it will be the priority for the year to come.”
However, Mr Cruddas called for a "smarter" furlough scheme to include training, the overhaul of the "failing" Kickstart youth jobs programme and reform of the "shambolic" green homes grant.
“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,” Mr Cruddas said.
Furlough is due to expire at the end of April. But Mr Cruddas urged Mr Sunak to extend it and remove uncertainty.
Analysis also shows 8,100 people in Dagenham and Rainham made claims under the coronavirus self-employed income support scheme by the end of July.
Mr Cruddas claimed the chancellor has left millions of people who rely on that support in the dark.
Labour has called for the scheme to be opened to 200,000 people who only have a 2019/20 tax return and for the chancellor to fix holes in other schemes it says "have left millions without support".
The Treasury maintains support is kept under review and the budget is the right place to consider what extra measures may be needed.