Up furlough business contribution sooner to save ‘crippled’ tourism sector, Rishi Sunak urged
Businesses should be asked to increase their contribution to the government's furlough scheme sooner to bolster the floundering tourism and hospitality sector, a senior MP has said.
UK firms are expected to be asked to start paying part of the wages of their staff on leave from August, with Chancellor Rishi Sunak set to announce the changes to the Government's financial help package in the coming days.
But Lib Dem MP Layla Moran wants businesses to stump up more cash from July, allowing ministers to plough the cash they would save into the tourism and leisure industry - one of the hardest hit by the coronavirus crisis.
The targeted 'business rescue fund' would allow firms who are weathering the economic storm to save those who are struggling from going under completely, Ms Moran told PoliticsHome.
"I’m urging the Chancellor to bring forward changes to the furlough scheme, in order to protect the most economically vulnerable, and to help the hospitality and tourism sectors that have been crippled by coronavirus," the party leadership hopeful said.
“Businesses have said that they are keen to support their staff, and this small change will make a massive difference.
"It is time to ask some businesses to help shoulder the burden, while also creating a safeguard to help those businesses which are in dire straits."
Many tourism businesses across the UK, particularly those which rely on seasonal trade, fear they will not survive if they are unable to begin operating for the summer quickly.
Experts in some coastal towns, including Hastings and Blackpool, fear vital millions have already been lost from local economies.
The Government is currently funding 80% of the wages of workers placed on furlough by their employers - a scheme devised to reduce the number of job losses while the UK is in lockdown.
Reports suggest firms will now be asked to pay at least a fifth of salary costs themselves, with a Treasury source telling The Times: "We’ve got two full months' of support left and afterwards the government will help to pay people’s wages, but it’s fair to everyone that businesses contribute as they get back to work."
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