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WARNING ISSUED: Daisy Cooper MP urges government to extend support

 Published on: 19th June 2020   |   By: Lizzie Ellis   |   Category: Uncategorized

Daisy Cooper MP has urged the government to extend support to protect local jobs in St Albans.

The Liberal Democrat MP has warned that to avoid a surge of job losses, the government must put in place bespoke packages of support for key sectors such as hospitality.

More than one in four residents in St Albans are currently using the furlough scheme, the self-employed scheme, or receiving unemployment benefit.

Daisy Cooper MP said: “The coronavirus crisis is leaving thousands of families facing financial uncertainty. Further financial support must be agreed to ensure no one is left behind.

“There must be an increase in statutory sick pay to £220 a week to ensure everyone who needs to self-isolate can, knowing that they don’t have to choose between their health and their income.

“Also, the furlough scheme continues to be a lifeline for many, but I worry what will happen to people here in St Albans who rely on furlough support if it ends before it’s safe to go back to work, or when businesses need to re-open below capacity or in a phased way.”

Newly published ​Government statistics​ for May show that the number of people claiming unemployment benefit in St Albans has more than doubled since lockdown began in March, with 3,005 actual claimants, an increase of 1,815 on March and 1,045 since April. 15% of those were aged 18-24.

Other data ​showed that 10,600 people in St Albans have benefited from the job retention scheme, out of a working-age population of 61,814.

Figures also show​ that 3,700 people are receiving financial support through the Self-Employment Income support scheme, following a successful campaign by Liberal Democrats to extend the original scheme by three months.

Ms Cooper points out that many self-employed people are still excluded from this support, including those who became self-employed since April 2019, and is calling on the Government to expand the scheme to cover them too.

“The big danger is that many parts of our economy will simply not be back up to speed by October. The Government must bring forward bespoke packages of support for the industries most affected, to save jobs and prevent mass unemployment.”

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