Sadiq Khan has urged ministers to extend the jobs furlough scheme “for struggling sectors of the economy” and to delay the reintroduction of national insurance and pension contributions for furloughed employees.
Employers will have to pay NI and restart pension contributions from 1st August but City Hall has expressed concern that many businesses, including in London’s crucial hospitality and creative sectors, will struggle to meet the cost.
The Mayor’s call comes as new HMRC figures show that the number of employees requiring government assistance is increasing.
In June the number of furloughed employees in London rose by 20 per cent, bringing the total number to 1.29million – 30 per cent of the capital’s eligible workforce – while the number accessing the Government’s self-employed scheme increased by 51,000, the highest in any region in the country.
Mr Khan said: “We want to do everything we possibly can to get our businesses and venues in London thriving once again, but many are on financial knife edge with social distancing rules meaning a return to normality is still a long way off.
“The current financial challenges for business in central London and the West End remain particularly acute.
“For sectors such as creative industries and hospitality it is still too early for many businesses to pick up the cost of national insurance and pension contributions – I am deeply concerned this will simply accelerate a surge in unemployment in businesses already struggling to cover their costs.”