Chancellor's announcement 'offers little or nothing' for struggling sectors, Mayor warns
Philip Glanville, Mayor of Hackney, responds to the Chancellor's announcement that the furlough scheme will not be extended and the Government's new Job Support Scheme.
More than 44,000 employees in our borough have been furloughed, and three quarters of businesses who responded to our latest coronavirus survey told us they had been forced to furlough staff.
While the Chancellor’s announcement on wage subsidies today is welcome, compared to a hard end to the furlough scheme, it will still see workers forced to take a pay cut and does little for those on furlough who face the prospect of losing their job. Today’s package is not targeted enough, offering little or nothing for Hackney’s cultural, retail and hospitality industries, many of which will struggle to pay their proportion of salaries as they continue to be hardest hit by the necessary new restrictions in the coming months.
Alongside colleagues I have spent the summer talking to local businesses and they have told me about their fears if support isn’t forthcoming. It’s essential that in these specific sectors, targeted support is available for businesses who face a winter of little or no income, but the same costs, including rent, as ever. Without this, there’s a risk that otherwise good and viable businesses will not survive into the New Year.
The end of the furlough scheme will inevitably mean a rise in unemployment, and we have already seen the second highest rise in London of unemployment, with 1,385 Hackney residents forced into claiming support between June and August. So it was disappointing to see no further announcements or new funding today to support them to live or help those residents retrain or learn new skills.
We’re determined to rebuild a fairer economy for Hackney after the pandemic that supports our vital small businesses and social enterprises and helps people find high-quality, long-term employment. But we can only do this if the Government is on the side of those workers and businesses who continue to need financial support through the winter.
As of the latest data available, 44,100 employees in Hackney had been furloughed under the Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.
77% of businesses who responded to the Council’s Coronavirus Business Impact Monitoring survey said they had furloughed staff, with 76% saying they had lost between three-quarters to all of their income.
Two-thirds of businesses said Government support was not enough, with nearly 90% saying they would need further support in the next six months.