Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer calls for 'flexible end' to furlough scheme while visiting Peterborough

Watch a report by ITV News Anglia's Sarah Cooper


On a visit to Peterborough, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has called on the government to take a more flexible approach to the phasing out of the furlough scheme.

The government's support for the scheme will begin to be withdrawn tomorrow, and the Labour leader said he and his party are worried that some businesses won't survive.

Labour Party Leader Keir Starmer Credit: ITV Anglia

Tomorrow the government' support begins to be withdrawn for all businesses and sectors at the same time when it's clear that some businesses and sectors need more support. So, we are saying focus on jobs - it's not too late to adopt a more flexible approach.

Sir Keir Starmer, Labour leader

Sir Keir Starmer was visiting Automated Wire Bending in Vicarage Farm Road when he made his comments.

The wire bending workshop has managed to stay open throughout the pandemic, but half of the staff but half of the staff were furloughed at one point.

They say that to survive, the business has had to be flexible.

Silvio Perna Credit: ITV Anglia

Silvio Perna, Managing Director at Automated Wire Bending said:

Hospitals were being built - we made IVs, components for beds. We've got a big company in Hamburg we make incubator shelving for, they were going great guns and then the great British gardener kicked in and, everything we were making for the gardening industry, you know, obelisks and plant supports - they just took off and, because we were plugged into different markets, that kept us going.

Silvio Perna, Automated Wire Bending Ltd

The government insists that the ending of the furlough scheme, isn't a one-size fits all strategy.

They say that the support being provided to businesses is 'comprehensive and generous' adding that the furlough scheme is unprecedented - supporting the wages of 9 and a half million people -  and costing more than 30 billion.

They also criticised the Labour party for not having a realistic or detailed plan.