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MPs warn of mass redundancies in arts and leisure sector when furlough ends

UK News | Published:

Around 9.5 million roles have been supported by the furlough scheme.

Coronavirus

The arts and leisure sector faces mass redundancies and the closure of many cultural organisations if the furlough scheme is not extended beyond October, MPs have warned.

In a letter to Chancellor Rishi Sunak, an influential Commons committee said 51% of workers in the sectors are dependent on furlough, compared to 13% across all industries.

Around 9.5 million roles have been supported by the furlough scheme, but it will be removed entirely at the end of October.

Julian Knight, the chairman of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee, said ending the scheme for all sectors “does not reflect the unique situation faced by the arts and leisure sector”.

He said: “The job retention scheme has been a lifeline for companies that employ people in the arts and leisure sectors.

“We’re making it absolutely clear to Government that if furlough is cut off in October, not only will mass redundancies follow but we can expect many cultural organisations to go out of business, never to return.

“We know that more workers in these industries depend on the scheme to pay their wages than in any other.

“Ministers should recognise their duty to provide ongoing support for people hard hit by this crisis and extend the help on offer to organisations facing restrictions on how they operate.

“We should not allow the arts and leisure sectors that contribute amazing value to our economy to become ‘hostages to fortune’ as a result of failure to act now before it’s too late.”

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