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‘Targeted’ extension needed for furlough scheme to avoid mass unemployment, MPs warn

Around 9.6 million jobs have been supported by the furlough scheme since it was set up

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A “targeted” extension to the coronavirus furlough scheme should be considered to avoid a cliff-edge when it ends next month, MPs have warned.

The Treasury Select Committee said Chancellor Rishi Sunak risks mass long-term unemployment and putting hard-hit viable firms out of business if the worker support scheme comes to an abrupt end on October 31.

In the second report of its inquiry into the economic impact of coronavirus, the cross-party committee of MPs also recommended further action to boost consumer spending after last month’s popular Eat Out to Help Out scheme.

It comes amid growing calls for an extension to the furlough scheme as fears mount over a jobs bloodbath after the Halloween deadline.

“The Chancellor should carefully consider targeted extensions to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and explain his conclusions,” chairman of the committee Mel Stride said.

“The key will be assisting those businesses who, with additional support, can come through the crisis as sustainable enterprises, rather than focusing on those that will unfortunately just not be viable in the changed post-crisis economy.

“This requires a very difficult set of judgements; it is where careful analysis and creative thinking will be critical.”

Businesses and many politicians, including…

Imogen Braddick

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