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Councillor Blackett Calls for Flexibility in Furlough Scheme

>> 30 April 2020

A councillor has made a call for some flexibility to be introduced to the UK Government’s furlough scheme at today’s virtual meeting of the full Aberdeenshire Council.

Councillors were discussing the response to Coronavirus during which Cllr Geva Blackett (SNP-Aboyne, Upper Deeside & Donside) requested the UK Government be asked to make adjustments to the furlough scheme.

Cllr Blackett used the example of a local community business engaged in heritage and tourism where being able to have their single furloughed worker spend the 20 per cent of their time they are not being paid for to safely engage in preparatory work for when restrictions are lifted would be beneficial to both the business and the community.

Speaking during the virtual meeting, Cllr Blackett said:

“Employers are able, as we know, to claim back 80% of a furloughed employee’s salary up to a £2,500 per month ceiling. Employees are not allowed to do any work for their employer while furloughed however if their contract allows, they can go and take paid employment elsewhere.

“Quite a number of employers are topping up those salaries with the remaining 20% and this is where I believe there needs to be an amendment. Many businesses, particularly those in tourism, could actually do with having someone working that 20% that they are paying for.

“I have written to the Scotland Office and the Leader of Aberdeenshire Council reiterating what I hope will be viewed as a constructive suggestion to aid and assist local businesses during this time.”

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