Boris Johnson rules out extending furlough beyond October

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has ruled out extending the furlough job retention scheme beyond its cut off date, which comes next month.

Mr Johnson was answering questions in the House of Commons.

He told Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer: “We are getting people back to work, what he wants to do is extend the furlough scheme on which this country has already spent £40 billion, what we would rather do is get people into work through our kick start scheme which we are launching today with £2 billion to spend, to support people, young people in particular to get the jobs that they need.

“He wants to keep people out of work in suspended animation, we want to move this country forward, that’s the difference between him and us.”

SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford urged Mr Johnson to extend the furlough scheme beyond October, warning of the prospect of unemployment levels not seen since Margaret Thatcher was prime minister.

He told the Commons: “With the clock ticking for struggling businesses and workers, will the Prime Minister commit today to extend the job retention scheme beyond October?

“Or is his Government making the political choice to accept levels of unemployment last seen under Thatcher in the early 1980s?”

Mr Johnson responded: “Members opposite of all parties seem to want to extend the furlough scheme which has already cost this country £40 billion… supported 11 million people, but after all keeps them in suspended animation and prevents them from going to work.

“What we want to do is get people back to work and that’s why I hope he (Mr Blackford) will instead support our Kickstarter scheme to get young people into jobs and support them in those jobs.

“How much better is that than languishing out of work?”

Ian Blackford said that people in Scotland are seeing a “tale of two governments”.

He said: “France, Germany and Ireland have extended their furlough scheme into 2021. They have made a moral choice, they are not prepared to punish their people with record levels of unemployment.

“People in Scotland are seeing a tale of two governments – while the Tories are cutting furlough scheme support, yesterday (First Minister) Nicola Sturgeon was announcing new investment to protect jobs including a youth guarantee.

“We all know that jobs are under threat if the furlough scheme ends in October. The power to end this threat lies with the Prime Minister.”

Mr Johnson responded: “What we are doing is not only continuing with the furlough scheme, as he knows, until the end of this month which is far more generous by the way than anything provided in France or Germany or Ireland.

“We’re continuing with it but we will also, after that scheme elapses, we will get on with other measures to support people in work.”

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