Tory MP calls on government to extend job retention scheme

The following is an extract from an artcile first published in City AM. You can read the full article here. 

A Conservative London MP has called on the government to extend the job retention scheme that pays “furloughed” workers’ wages to help businesses hit by a plunge in international visitors.

Nickie Aiken, MP for Cities of London and Westminster, and the Association of International Retail have written to chancellor Rishi Sunak to say that businesses such as shops and theatres will need help beyond June, when the scheme is scheduled to end. The job retention scheme was announced in March and pays 80 per cent of the wages up to £2,500 per month of workers that would otherwise be laid off. As of last Monday, 185,000 businesses with 1.3m employees had applied for the scheme.

Sunak extended the programme two weeks ago, meaning it will now run until the end of June. He said it was “the right decision” after the government extended the coronavirus lockdown for another three weeks.

However, Aiken told the chancellor today that the huge drop in international visitors meant areas like the West End of London would not recover for perhaps six or 12 months, until global travel is back to normal. She asked the Treasury to extend the job retention scheme so that businesses in international centres such as the West End, Knightsbridge, Manchester, Edinburgh and Bicester Village can manage an extended fall in business.