Responding to the Chancellor's statement today, Cllr Clare Coghill, London Councils Executive member for Business, Europe and Good Growth, said:
“It is critical we invest in support for jobs, businesses and local economies now to ensure we get through the Covid-19 pandemic while safeguarding London’s long-term future.
“Today’s statement from the Chancellor was a welcome announcement amidst concern over the end of the furlough scheme. The capital’s workforce has been hit hard by the pandemic - the five constituencies in the UK that have the highest number of furloughed workers are all in London and increases in Universal Credit and employment benefits have been higher than the national average. Continued interventions are needed to keep Londoners in work over the coming months.
“In subsidising wages for workers’ part time hours, the new job support scheme aims to support employers with cash flow constraints, keep self-employed people in business and protect viable jobs. The end of furlough and impact of new restrictions on key sectors in London’s economy is likely to mean a further increase in number of unemployed Londoners. More support will be crucial for these sectors and their workers.
“Stronger action is needed to secure the future of businesses and the jobs they provide, particularly in London’s hospitality, tourism and creative and cultural sectors sector, and for self-employed traders. Government should now consider additional measures such as extending the business rates holiday beyond March 2021 as well longer-term investment in growth sectors such as the green economy.
“The detrimental impact of long-term unemployment is well known and in London, there are local impacts – for example, workers at Heathrow and its supply chain. Employment and skills initiatives must be created in partnership with local councils which respond to these challenges by supporting those people who need to reskill and investing strategically in job creation.
“With so many Londoners due to be affected by the transition to the new schemes, London boroughs will be working with government to ensure their local communities and businesses continue to access support, preserving as many jobs and livelihoods as possible.”