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North-east MP warns against ending furlough scheme prematurely

By Kyle Ritchie

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Gordon MP Richard Thomson has warned the Chancellor against prematurely withdrawing support for the furlough scheme at the end of this week.

Analysis from the House of Commons Library, using the latest HM Revenue and Customs data, has revealed that 116,500 jobs remain furloughed in Scotland at the last count – that is five per cent of eligible jobs.

Of those, 2400 jobs remain furloughed in the Gordon constituency.

The analysis shows the number of furloughed jobs in Scotland fell by around 20 per cent between the end of May and the end of June, and a further 20 per cent between the end of June and the end of July.

If the number continues to fall at the same rate, it could leave 75,000 Scottish jobs still furloughed when the scheme ends abruptly on Thursday.

Across the Aberdeenshire local authority area a total of 5300 jobs remain furloughed, representing five per cent of eligible jobs.

The latest Office for National Statistics data shows that unemployment is currently at a lower rate in Scotland than across the UK.

The unemployment rate was at 4.3 per cent in Scotland between May and July – below the UK rate of 4.6 per cent.

Mr Thomson said: "It is vital that the Chancellor finally listens to calls to extend the furlough scheme and deliver financial support for hard hit businesses and sectors.

"There is now a very real danger that Tory complacency on jobs could result in rising redundancies in the north-east and across the UK.

Gordon MP Richard Thomson.
Gordon MP Richard Thomson.

"With thousands of Scottish jobs under threat from cuts, including 2400 at risk in Gordon, I am urging Rishi Sunak to ensure the UK government does not withdraw support for jobs and businesses abruptly and prematurely.

"This is especially important, given the risks of Covid this winter and the fragile state of the UK economy.

"Too many people have been left behind by Westminster throughout the pandemic. The UK government must not create an unemployment crisis, which could see thousands of people made redundant and left on the scrap heap, at the same time that ministers raise taxes and slash Universal Credit by £1040."

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