He said: “One of the difficulties with the furlough scheme, if we extend it more widely, is that you are just keeping people in suspended animation when really we want people to get back to work if they possibly can, in a Covid-secure way.”
Boris Johnson has outright refused to extend the programme as ministers ignored pleas from Labour and other political parties that axing it was “shortsighted”.
The government warned “hard times are here” as it doubled down on ending the support programme which has helped millions keep the wolf from the door but critics say the timing could be disastrous
But Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s brainchild has hit the government hard in the wallet – costing an eye-watering £34bn.
Millions of Brits will have their cash supply cut off within days as the Government’s furlough scheme ends despite fears a second wave of coronavirus is on the horizon.
Furlough has kept the wolf from the door for millions of Brits who would have found themselves jobless.
But the motion was defeated by 249 votes to 329, majority 80.
Sir Keir Starmer’s party want targeted support for businesses affected by Covid-19.
Tory MPs saw down a Labour call demanding that the Government “abandon its one-size-fits-all” scrapping of the furlough scheme.
Shadow Treasury minister Bridget Phillipson said it would be “a mistake” to end the furlough scheme now.
The SNP’s economic spokeswoman Alison Thewliss warned the Commons that ending the scheme now as a second wave of the deadly virus looms would be a disaster.
“We should not make that mistake.”
She added: “We are far from through this crisis. It will be a mistake to pull away that support prematurely. It will damage our economy in the long-run, it will hit those sectors of our economy that are world-leading.
She said: “A further spike and further local restrictions seem absolutely inevitable too, so ending support now is incredibly short-sighted.”
But Chief Secretary to the Treasury Steve Barclay refused to budge.
“It has been one of the most difficult decisions the Government has taken, but this is the right one and I would remind the House of the extent of the support that we have offered.
“Firstly the furlough is over eight months already, it is one of the most generous schemes in the world and we have been contributing at a higher rate of people’s wages than in Spain.
He told MPs: “Jobs will be lost, businesses will close and as the Chancellor said last month, hard times are here.