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Source: Social Democratic and Labour Party of Northern Ireland

SDLP Leader Colum Eastwood welcomed a U-Turn from Chancellor Rishi Sunak on extending the furlough scheme for businesses impacted by local restrictions.

The Foyle MP wrote to Sunak earlier this week with proposals for a robust intervention that would protect workers, including the extension of the furlough scheme. He has also called for confirmation that the devolved administrations will be able to activate the new scheme depending on local restrictions.

Colum Eastwood MP said:

“Earlier this week, I wrote to Rishi Sunak outlining the need for an extension to the furlough scheme as the most basic step in a robust programme of interventions needed to protect workers and businesses in areas with new restrictions. I welcome the U-Turn announced today after weeks of British Government Ministers refusing to admit that this is the only way to save jobs.

“It should be a basic principle of Covid recovery that if you’re going to introduce restrictions that effectively shut businesses down, you have to provide financial support to secure the livelihoods of people who work in the area. I’m glad that the British Treasury has finally given in and listened to the voices of MPs and businesses in areas affected by increased restrictions.

“We now need to be assured that the devolved governments will be able to activate the scheme in line with restrictions decided upon by each administration. If managed properly, this will be a boost to businesses in places like Derry and Strabane in incredibly difficult times. But it’s only a starting point. The SDLP will continue to use our influence in the Executive and at Westminster to deliver results for our communities.”

MIL OSI United Kingdom