WORCESTER’S MP says it is right the furlough scheme came to an end as the new scheme announced by the Chancellor “would be more targeted to support jobs”. ``

Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced yesterday the new Job Support Scheme will last six months, starting from November, with the government paying part of workers’ wages who have lost hours.

In addition there were announcements of a cut in VAT to five per cent for the hospitality and tourism sector, and firms that took government loans during the crisis will have longer to pay them back.

Robin Walker said: “I think it is right to recognise that (the furlough scheme) isn’t sustainable and you have to have something that is more targeted.

“This is an overall package that is very substantial and will make a big difference - I’m particularly pleased to see the help for the hospitality sector.”

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The Chancellor has faced tough questions about those now facing unemployment, as their job could now be classed as not viable for support - with Mr Sunak saying he can’t save every job and business.

Mr Walker said: “The issue with furlough it was always designed to be temporary, and it is no longer the appropriate response.

“Where people have been away from their workplace for a period of four or five months, just continuing to pay them in the hope they will be able to maintain their job has become less and less realistic.

“Unfortunately some of those jobs will change, but the important thing is we have got schemes like the kickstart scheme to try and help people into new jobs.”

Harriett Baldwin, MP for West Worcestershire, said: “As winter approaches, it is clear that many businesses, especially those in hospitality and tourism face further challenges and we must now act again to help our economy.

“I welcome the Chancellor’s statement which aims to support jobs further and I’ve already spoken in support of the kickstart scheme which is already being rolled out across West Worcestershire.

“I’m a member of the Treasury Select Committee which has called for further support for the jobs which are still being affected by the recent changes in public health protection measures.

“However, this continues to be a very dynamic situation and I am confident that, with the right level of support, we will get through 2020 with the local economy as robust as possible.”

Nigel Huddleston, MP for Mid-Worcestershire, added: “I’m pleased that the Chancellor was able to announce additional measures that will help further protect jobs and businesses in my constituency and right across the country.

“It shows that the government does understand the challenges that people are facing.

“That the coronavirus is impacting livelihoods, as well as lives, and the government is doing what it can to protect both.”

Sharon Smith, chief executive officer of Herefordshire & Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce said: “Action was needed from government as a third of Herefordshire and Worcestershire businesses were planning to reduce the size of their workforce within the next three months.

“We know that six months goes fast, so we will be looking for the government to give sight of their longer-term plan so that businesses are not working ‘hand to mouth’ and unable to plan further.

"The Chancellor must also be open to taking any additional measures and introduce increased support if needed.”