Gerald Jones MP: Furlough scheme must “go much further”
News, Opinion | Gerald Jones | Published: 09:24, Tuesday June 2nd, 2020.
Last updated: 09:24, Tuesday June 2nd, 2020
The UK Government’s furlough scheme is welcome, but must still go much further with thousands still missing out on support
While the extension of the UK Government’s furlough scheme to October 2020 is very welcome, there are still a significant number of people across Wales and the UK that are missing out due to the scheme’s cut-off date, and in Parliament earlier this month I called on the chancellor to revise the scheme urgently.
Currently, you can apply for the support provided you were on a company payroll scheme on or before 19th March 2020, although thousands of people who were in new jobs but weren’t on the payroll by this date are missing out on vital support through no fault of their own, and I have urged the chancellor to revise the scheme to ensure this support can get to all those in our area and across the country who need it.
Calling for the UK Government to support British Airways workers in South Wales
Last week I joined with Welsh Labour colleagues from across Parliament and the Senedd in writing to British Airways calling for urgent clarification over their proposals for job cuts at their sites across South Wales.
Due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, BA have announced there may be job losses at their South Wales sites, and I joined with colleagues to urge them to provide clarity over the proposals and how they would affect staff in our area and across Wales, with a number of constituents in Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney who could be affected by the changes.
I’ve also written to the UK Government, along with Welsh Labour colleagues, calling on them to put a wider support package in place immediately to ensure BA jobs in Wales are protected.
Calling for action over shocking PIP decision delays
Earlier this month, I called on the UK Government to take urgent action over delays for decisions on Personal Independence Payment (PIP) claims, following the news from the DWP that people in our area are currently waiting well over nine weeks for a decision on their PIP application.
Anyone who’s had their PIP application refused by the DWP can request a Mandatory Reconsideration (MR), which usually takes around eight weeks, although due to the impact of coronavirus, people are being forced to wait even longer than usual, with a response from the DWP earlier this month stating that it couldn’t even give a timescale for a decision on a Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymey constituent’s application.
According to new House of Commons statistics, there were 839 MRs requested for PIP applications by Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney constituents in the past year, with almost 60% resulting in no change to the DWP’s decision on the application, even after people being forced to wait for almost two months on average.
The fact that constituents are now being kept waiting even longer than usual is completely unacceptable, with many of the people waiting for decisions living with serious health conditions or disabilities and desperately in need of help now. I have urged the UK Government to step up and take action to reform this system and bring waiting times down immediately.
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