MORE than 35,000 workers in Barnsley have been supported by the government’s job retention scheme, latest figures have revealed.

Businesses furloughed 27,400 jobs across the borough, up to May 31, since the initiative - which will run until the end of October - was launched in April as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

A further 8,500 self-employed individuals in Barnsley, who have been adversely affected by the coronavirus outbreak, have received grants worth a total of £24.2m.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak said: “Our unprecedented job retention and self-employment support schemes have supported the livelihoods of millions and will help ensure our recovery is as swift as possible.”

The government has provided much-needed cash and at the beginning of the crisis made it clear that they would do ‘whatever it takes’ and stand behind local authorities, but in Barnsley the money has so far only covered a third of the cost, according to the council.

In Text Promo Image

Barnsley received £8.1m in the first tranche of Covid-19 funding - the lowest in South Yorkshire - and will pocket a further £6.8m in the second round, down 16.7 per cent.

Barnsley Central MP Dan Jarvis praised the furlough scheme, adding: “The extension and flexibility of furlough will provide much-needed certainty for employers and workers, and will help strike a balance between reopening the economy and bringing workers back safely.

“We must avoid the worst of both worlds - a hasty rush back to work and a second peak of coronavirus cases, which would be devastating to people’s health and their livelihoods.

“Locally we are beginning to see a rise in unemployment. The furlough scheme is there to protect as many jobs as possible during the biggest public health crisis in generations - it must not be used as a smokescreen for redundancies now or further down the line. I urge employers to stand by their workers.

“To ensure our companies recover, the government must now work to support businesses and communities as we recover from the economic impact of the coronavirus, ensuring we have the powers and resources to build back better.

“The furlough scheme has proved vital to reducing the impact of the virus in the short term but as we move into recovery. After the furlough scheme, a significant stimulus must follow to tackle deep-seated problems in our society and economy.

“Only then we will be able to fix our infrastructure, unlock the region’s potential and deliver a green new deal for the economy and environment.”