Wirral MP calls on government for ‘cast-iron guarantee’ that workers in the North will never again be treated as second class citizens
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05 Nov 2020
Margaret Greenwood MP has asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, to give a ‘cast-iron guarantee’ to her constituents that workers in the North will never again be treated as second class citizens.
The Wirral West MP’s intervention comes after the Chancellor announced to the House of Commons that the government’s furlough scheme will be extended until the end of March 2021.
Previously, workers in the North in places with Tier 3 restrictions like Wirral, Liverpool and Manchester, where firms were forced to shut by law because of coronavirus restrictions, were expected to get only 67% of their pre-coronavirus crisis wages paid for by the government. Now the furlough scheme applies across the country, it will cover 80% of workers' wages.
Margaret Greenwood pointed out that the Treasury has only changed tack now that areas in the south of the country are being locked down as well.
The shift in government policy comes after weeks of intense lobbying by the Trades Union Congress (TUC), Confederation of British Industry (CBI), Labour MPs and northern leaders, including those in the Liverpool City Region.
Margaret Greenwood MP said:
“Before today’s announcement, the government expected workers in the North living in Tier 3 areas like Wirral to survive on two thirds of their wages.
“Only now that areas in the south are also facing the toughest restrictions has the government decided to extend the furlough scheme so workers can receive 80% of their pay.
"That's why I called on the Chancellor to guarantee that workers in the North will never again be treated as second class citizens by government.
"After weeks of lobbying by Labour and the trade unions, at last we have a U-turn from Rishi Sunak.
"It should never have taken so long. The government must treat workers right across the country with dignity and respect."