‘We could be the most vulnerable’: Newham has highest number of furloughed jobs in London, figures show

Newham MPs Lyn Brown and Stephen Timms have written to housing minister Robert Jenrick to express co

Newham MPs Lyn Brown and Stephen Timms have written to housing minister Robert Jenrick to express concerns over cladding issues in the borough. Picture: MP's Offices - Credit: Archant

Newham has the highest number of furloughed jobs in the capital, figures show.

The borough has an estimated 53,200 workers on the coronavirus job retention scheme (CJRS) which provides grants to employers of up to 80 per cent of salary to a maximum £2,500 per employee.

HMRC also crunched its numbers of furloughed jobs by constituency, showing West Ham with the highest in the country on 29,300, although the report authors warn London constituencies tend to be larger than most.

A third of East Ham’s workforce – 32.8pc – have benefited from the support, putting it tenth in a national ranking which sees Brent Central top with 45.4pc of the working population furloughed.

Lyn Brown, MP for West Ham, said the high number of her constituency’s workers that have been furloughed shows the vital importance to the constituency of the job-saving schemes Labour pushed for from the beginning of the crisis.

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Ms Brown added: “I remain extremely concerned about the livelihoods of the many constituents who are still locked out of government schemes.

“It is so important for our communities that the government fully supports employees and the self-employed for as long as this severe economic crisis lasts.

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“These statistics show we could be the most vulnerable area in the country to a terrible rise in unemployment if businesses can no longer furlough their workers.”

The scheme is based around HMRC’s pay as you earn (PAYE) system. For an employer to qualify they need to have created a PAYE scheme by March 19.

From July 1, employers can bring employees back to work who were furloughed for any amount of time and any shift pattern, while still being able to claim the grant for their normal hours not worked. The scheme closes from June 30.

East Ham MP Stephen Timms said: “The furlough scheme has been a lifeline for millions. Almost a third of the working population of East Ham have benefited.

“Great care will be needed eventually in unwinding the scheme, to ensure that those who have benefited are able to go back to work. If handled badly, there would be a real risk of large scale redundancies.”

A Treasury spokesperson said: “We have provided a generous and wide-ranging package of support for businesses. Our job retention scheme has helped a million employers and protected 8.9million jobs.

“As well as furloughing staff, we’ve introduced a wide range of other targeted support measures for different sectors, including bounce back loans and tax deferrals, business rates holidays and more than £10 billion of grants to businesses.”

Almost all the country’s 650 MPs have at least 10,000 constituents furloughed.

HMRC’s analysis covers the start of the scheme until May 31.

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