I have spoken passionately in this Chamber about the impact that the coronavirus pandemic is having on the livelihoods of my constituents. Ensuring that no one is left behind should be at the heart of the Government’s response to this economic crisis. As the MP for Coventry North West, it is my job to come to this place and secure the very best deal for my constituents, my neighbours and my community.
It is my contention that we are unprepared for the impending disaster that awaits people on the furlough scheme across the country and in Coventry North West. The scheme is masking the true extent of the unemployment crisis to come. We do not yet know what the furlough scheme has protected us and our constituents from. The Government put in place a scheme to ensure that jobs were protected, in the hope that our constituents would also be protected. However, the indiscriminate and premature severing of the furlough support scheme will leave the businesses in my constituency bereft and possibly at risk of bankruptcy.
Let me lay bare some sobering facts and statistics. Since my last speech in this place, I have learned that in my constituency the number of claimants for unemployment benefits has risen to 4,780, some 3,500 people are seeking help from the self-employed income support scheme, 17,000 people are on furlough and 7,600 jobs are in the high-risk category for unemployment. We have seen job losses at large, small and medium-sized businesses in Coventry—from Rolls-Royce to Ikea and many family businesses. The figures will hit the roof if the furlough scheme is not extended and better planning not put in place.