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MP Rushanara Ali questions new furlough criteria which may prevent thousands from applying

PUBLISHED: 12:00 23 April 2020

Rushanara Ali, MP for Bethnal Green and Bow. Picture: Rushanara Ali

Rushanara Ali, MP for Bethnal Green and Bow. Picture: Rushanara Ali

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MP Rushanara Ali has voiced concerns over the extension to the government furlough scheme, highlighting new criteria which may see thousands become ineligible.

On April 15 chancellor Rishi Sunak extended the furlough deadline from February 28 to March 19.

Though Ms Ali welcomed the extension, she queried the impact of new criteria which means a person must both be employed and have received a payslip by March 19.

Previously they only had to be employed by February 28, meaning those who could apply under the old criteria may no longer be able to if they don’t have a pay slip.

At this week’s treasury committee meeting, the Bethnal Green and Bow MP quizzed the chief executive for UKHospitality, Kate Nicholls, on what this means in real terms.

Ms Nicholls said that although the extension has helped large numbers of seasonal staff, an estimated 350,000 - 500,000 workers could lose out as a result of this new payslip requirement.

Speaking after the committee, Ms Ali said: “While the extension of the eligibility date for furlough is welcome, certain new requirements and loopholes that come with the changes mean that many people are still being left behind.

“It is common practice for employers to notify HMRC through RTI submissions and pay employers at the end of each month, which falls after the new cut-off date for furloughing.

“I am calling on the Chancellor to urgently address these technicalities to ensure that this hugely important policy is successful in helping our country’s workforce through this crisis.”


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