Dear Andrew Jones MP,
Over 15,000 people across Harrogate & Knaresborough have benefited from the furlough scheme. For many, it's been the only thing keeping them afloat during this hugely difficult time.
With our local hospitality and retail sectors under enormous pressure, reducing the support given by the furlough scheme will only force businesses to meet yet another significant cost.
It's too soon to take away this crucial support for businesses and their staff. For businesses reopening, social distancing rules are still strict and the possibility of a second wave in the coming months is still very high. France, Germany, and Ireland have extended their furlough schemes into 2021 for this reason.
The Health Secretary has said that a vaccine is most likely to come in the "first few months" of 2021. With this in mind, now is not the time to put so many local jobs at risk.
We are immensely concerned that, if we end the furlough scheme too soon, there will be a sharp rise in unemployment. We do not agree with your suggestion that these concerns are "alarmist". The worry is very real for too many people.
Please join us in calling on the Government to extend the furlough scheme into 2021 so we can protect local residents' livelihoods.