Keir Starmer to call for targeted furlough scheme

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Keir Starmer to call for targeted furlough scheme
Keir Starmer to call for targeted furlough scheme

Sir Keir Starmer has called on the government to replace the furlough scheme and outlaw “firing and re-hiring” methods to avoid the “scarring effect” of “mass unemployment”.

The Labour leader will warn that communities across the country will face the “scarring effect of mass unemployment” if the Government fails to act.

He will offer to work with ministers to develop a “genuine national plan” to protect jobs when the scheme closes at the end of October.

Sir Keir will also call for an expansion of part-time working, rewarding employers who give people hours rather than cut jobs, and the provision of training and support for those unable to return to work full-time.

“At this moment of national crisis we should take inspiration from our past,” he is expected to say. “Be willing to put party differences aside and work together in the interest of the country.

He will deliver his speech on Tuesday to the TUC annual congress online, rather than addressing delegates in London in person.

It comes after it emerged he is self-isolating after a member of his household developed possible Covid-19 symptoms.

The state has supported around 9.6 million jobs through the furlough scheme since the country went lockdown in March.

While Labour has said it accepts the furlough scheme cannot continue indefinitely, Sir Keir will argue that with “a bit of imagination” the Government can continue to help those most at risk of losing their jobs.

He will urge ministers to target sectors under the greatest pressure – including aviation and retail, as well as businesses in areas hit by local lockdowns.

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