Make sure furlough scheme is available for areas which may need to be in lockdown for longer
Liz Saville Roberts MP, Plaid Cymru’s Westminster Leader, has called for the Chancellor not to “turn the economic taps off” before Welsh public health experts agree that it is safe for people to return to work.
Following the Prime Minister’s statement on the lifting of some elements of lockdown, guidance on returning to work is now different in England to the other three nations of the UK. There are concerns that the UK Government could cut off financial support across the UK, despite governments in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland following expert public health advice that the ‘stay at home’ message and policy should remain in place.
Responding to a statement by the Chancellor in the House of Commons on the furlough scheme, Ms Saville Roberts said that it must remain in place as long as necessary to “enable expert-led public health guidance to be followed in each nation”.
During the statement, the UK Chancellor announced there would be no changes to the furlough scheme until July, then some flexibility brought to allow part-time working thereafter. The Chancellor said that the 80% wage support measure will be extended until October.
During the statement Liz Saville Roberts MP said:
“In Wales, workplace restrictions have not been changed, as many parts of the country have not yet passed the peak of infection. The economic taps must not be turned off in Westminster, before the public health emergency has subsided in Wales.
“Will the Chancellor ensure that the furlough scheme remains in place for as long as necessary and in such as form as to enable expert-led public health guidance to be followed in each nation.”
Following the statement, Ms Saville Roberts said:
“I welcome the extension and increased flexibility in the furlough scheme. Although Plaid Cymru has advocated an emergency universal basic income that would protect everyone, this scheme has acted as a lifeline for many.
“The UK Chancellor must now ensure that the nations, and for that matter regions of England, that may need to see restrictions on travel and work remain in place for longer than others are able to access this vital support when they need it.
“Public safety must come first and each area will be facing unique challenges from this virus for months and perhaps even years to come. The Chancellor must ensure any financial support is flexible enough to allow the targeted support that will be needed to ensure the expert-led public health guidance can be implemented and followed.”