Vale of Leven, where hundreds of workers have been on the furlough scheme. Pictures by Craig Jump of Red Turkey Media, Strathleven House, Dumbarton.

 By Paul Cassidy

This week Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced that the UK Government will extend the Job Retention Scheme (Furlough) until March 2021.

On top of that there is an extra £1billion in funding being made available by the UK Government to support businesses in Scotland.

The extension of the scheme will see the UK Government pay up to 80% of a person’s wage up to £2,500 a month.

As part of the extension, the UK Government has confirmed that anyone made redundant after 23 September can be re-hired and put back on furlough.

The furlough scheme subsidises the wages of people who cannot do their jobs, either because their workplace is closed or because there is no longer enough work for them.

On top of that, there is an extra £1billion of funding from the UK Government to the Scottish Government to help with business support.

Ms Baillie believes that this needs to be allocated urgently to stop local businesses from going to the wall.

Jackie Baillie MSP for Dumbarton, Vale of Leven, Helensburgh & Lomond, pictured above right, said: “This U-turn from the Chancellor is most welcome and will come as a relief to businesses and workers across West Dunbartonshire and Argyll & Bute. 

“The Chancellor must commit to ensure that firms are never again forced into a situation like this, where their very future is in doubt and where jobs are at risk, due to such uncertainty.

“I have repeatedly called for the extension of the furlough scheme that is targeted specifically at Scotland’s economy and workforce.

“It is of paramount importance that the extra funding, on top of furlough, is allocated to businesses, particularly in our local tourism and hospitality sectors, as a matter of urgency.

The Scottish Government already has £700m from the UK government that has still to be allocated, now they have an additional £1billion.

“With businesses now feeling the pressure of the second wave of the virus, it is vital that this funding is passed on swiftly to prevent a tsunami of job losses this winter.

“What the people of West Dunbartonshire and Argyll & Bute need is co-operation between the UK and Scottish Governments to produce a plan to protect jobs and businesses for as long as this pandemic may last.”

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