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Covid-19: Support for Businesses

Part of Treasury – in the House of Commons on 24th March 2020.

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Photo of John Martin McDonnell John Martin McDonnell Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer

That is really helpful. I have welcomed the statements from the Chancellor to date, and I welcome that as well. I am grateful for the work that he is doing. There was confusion, and many of us had representations on that. I would like him to clarify one other point: he might have done so earlier and I missed it. Some people are being asked to work reduced hours in the interests of the company rather than being furloughed overall, and it appears that those people may also be excluded from the scheme. There is a lack of clarity on that: again, could the Chancellor confirm whether those workers will be included in the scheme? If not, can he bring forward a fairly urgent reform to the scheme to enable that to happen?

One other category we have had questions on is those people who have work available but cannot do it because of the shutdown of their childcare arrangements and as a result have childcare responsibilities. Are they are eligible for the furlough support scheme as well?