Over 200 residents have joined Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Spokesperson, Judith Rogerson, in writing to Andrew Jones MP calling on him to fight for the furloughed and lobby the Government to extend the furlough scheme.
Unemployment in Harrogate & Knaresborough has almost tripled since March 2020, so many people have very real worries that this will rocket further when the furlough scheme ends next month.
Andrew Jones MP called these concerns over unemployment "alarmist", when local Liberal Democrats called for an extension in August.
In the letter to Andrew Jones MP, Judith Rogerson and over 200 residents said:
"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."
Today's announcement by the Prime Minister has demonstrated that restrictions are getting tighter.
Local businesses are finding it increasingly difficult to operate, especially in the hospitality sector which Harrogate district's economy relies on so heavily.
Speaking after today's announcement, Judith Rogerson said:
"It was hugely disappointing to see Andrew Jones dismiss people's very real concerns over unemployment as ‘alarmist’.
"Over the past week I’ve been contacted by local people who have already lost their jobs and are dreading the future as the furlough scheme starts to wind down. I hope that Mr Jones reconsiders his comments and joins us in calling on Government to extend this lifeline for so many.
"This week we’ve seen stricter rules introduced that will make it more difficult for local businesses, not least those in the crucial hospitality services. This isn’t the time to take away furlough support and force them to lay off staff to make ends meet.
"These are people’s livelihoods that we are talking about. Other Governments have already extended their furlough schemes and we must do the same."