As we approach the end of September, we will see another reduction in the job retention (furlough) scheme, which then ends completely on 31 October. A recent report by the centre for cities cited Luton as potentially the second-worst affected town by the Coronavirus crisis.
This is in part due to many of the town’s largest employers being within the wider aviation industry - which has been one of the hardest-hit sectors in the economy and will be one of the slowest to recover. This has been emphasised by the many employers I have spoken to over recent months. Thousands of employees have been furloughed and hundreds more are already facing redundancy. With the lack of any other targeted support, we could be facing an unemployment cliff edge in Luton South come November.
The arts, creative and events sector has also been heavily impacted. With venues closed and performances cancelled, thousands of self-employed workers and freelancers in this sector have been simply unable to work. Many have also been excluded from government support schemes. To recognise the contribution the creative sector makes to our town, and to highlight the issues currently faced by local creatives, I have secured an adjournment debate in parliament on Tuesday.
I have repeatedly pressured the government to provide sector-specific support to protect jobs and avoid an unemployment crisis. I have co-sponsored a backbench debate on aviation
, I wrote to the minister calling for more support for aviation
, questioned the government
in parliament and supported trade union campaigns
to save jobs. So far this has fallen on deaf ears and thousands of people in Luton are worried about their future livelihoods. Without proper government support, a recession could turn into a depression and those on lower incomes will be the hardest hit. I will continue to stand up for jobs and press the government for urgent action to protect workers their families.
If you are struggling or are excluded from any support please get in touch and me and my team will do our best to support you.