A SOUTH Lakes MP said he has 'concerns' about the furlough scheme coming to an end on October 31.

According to the last figures there are 6,000 people still on the furlough scheme in South Lakeland and 2,100 in the Barrow borough.

Tim Farron, MP for Westmorland and Lonsdale, said: “I’m massively concerned about what will happen when the furlough scheme ends this week.

“Local businesses are contacting me every day, massively fearful that this could be the end of the road for them.

“It’s clear that the new measures announced by the Government over the past couple of weeks, welcome though they are, will sadly not go far enough to save many local businesses.

“The Government have a clear choice: let these businesses hit the wall and spend millions more in benefits or spend that money instead on extending furlough and business grants so that these businesses can be fighting fit next year, keeping people in work and boosting the economy.”

On October 9, Chancellor Rishi Sunak expanded the Job Support Scheme and from November 1 the Government will pay two thirds of a worker’s salary - up to a maximum of £2,100 a month - if their employer is legally required to close their premises because of restrictions.

The coronavirus job retention scheme, which expires at the end of October, saw the state initially pay 80 per cent of wages up to £2,500 a month if employees were unable to work due to the pandemic, although as the scheme wound down employers were asked to share the burden by paying 20 per cent.

The scheme was simple but cost £41.4 billion according to the latest figures.

For the self-employed, the Government will provide two, taxable self-employment income support scheme (SEISS) grants to support those experiencing reduced demand due to Covid-19 or who temporarily can not trade. The grants will be made more generous, covering 40 per cent of profits instead of 20 per cent, with the maximum payment increasing from £1,875 to £3,750.

Simon Fell, MP for Furness, said: “There is a wide range of support available for people coming off furlough in these uncertain times, including the Job Support Scheme and also an incentive to keep staff on.” Send your views to news@thewestmorlandgazette.co.uk