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Mayor writes to Chancellor to ask for extension to Furlough scheme

08 October 2020

Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Councillor Brian Tierney, has written to the UK Chancellor of the Exchequer to highlight the stark challenges facing local businesses from the latest Covid 19 restrictions and to ask for additional financial support.
The letter to Rishi Sunak MP specifically asks for an extension to the UK Government's Job Retention Scheme (Furlough) to protect viable jobs in the hardest hit sectors.
Mayor Tierney has also written to his Mayoral counterparts in the other 10 Council areas in Northern Ireland to urge them to support a collective campaign for more support by also writing to the Chancellor.
"The latest measures to reduce the worrying upward trend in Covid infections across Northern Ireland are necessary but it is equally crucial that they are accompanied by additional financial support for businesses in the hardest hit sectors," said Mayor Tierney.
"The latest restrictions are a hammer blow to our hospitality sector in particular and will result in otherwise viable businesses being forced to cease trading without further support.
"The recent announcement of a successor programme the Job Support Scheme will not provide the support needed to save jobs here.
 "I have written to the Chancellor to ask him to extend the current furlough scheme to support the hardest hit sectors, protecting viable jobs and giving a lifeline to businesses as they try to stay afloat during this crisis and I have written to other Mayors in Northern Ireland to urge them to do the same."
Head of Business at Derry City and Strabane District Council, Kevin O'Connor, said the Covid 19 pandemic could have a potentially devastating impact on the local economy.
"Some 15,900 people availed of the UK Government's Job Retention Scheme which helped protect local jobs and businesses within the hardest hit sectors of our economy," he said.
"The economy in our Council area is dominated by Micro and SME Businesses and is heavily reliant on tourism, retail and hospitality sector to provide employment.
"Our tourism and hospitality sector was a thriving and vibrant sector before the pandemic and it has been disproportionately impacted."
For further information on support available to local businesses during the current restrictions visit derrystrabane.com/coronavirus.