Damien Moore votes against supporting 80% furlough pay for town employees

Damien Moore-otsnews
Southport MP Damien Moore

Damien Moore yesterday voted against supporting an 80% furlough pay scheme for Southport workers affected by coronavirus shutdowns, while abstaining from calls to support pupils with free school meals.

A motion tabled by Labour to support workers whose places of work have been closed due to coronavirus with 80% furlough pay in Tier 3 areas like Southport was rejected by 261 to 340.

At the end of October the furlough scheme will be replaced a new scheme which will pay workers from closed businesses in tier-3 areas up to 67% of their wage.

Labour’s rejected motion proposed to sustain the rate of pay at 80%.

A second motion to provide 1.4m disadvantaged children in England with £15-a-week food vouchers during holidays until Easter 2021 was also rejected.

The debate on free school meals comes largely due to a campaign from Manchester United and England player Marcus Rashford MBE, who has lobbied for measures to combat child food poverty.

Mr Moore joined with 36 Conservative colleagues in abstaining in the lobby for free school meals.

The opposition day motions would not have been binding on the government were they successful.

Local Labour leaders had attempted to ramp up pressure on the Southport MP before the furlough debate.

Liverpool City Region Mayor Steve Rotherham said in a letter to Mr Moore ahead of the vote: “I am calling on you to join the 16 Labour MPs in our region and vote in favour of today’s Motion.”

However, Mr Moore responded critically, suggesting that he only received the letter an hour before the debate and lamented Mr Rotherham’s approach to the press.

Responding, Damien Moore said: “The financial support measures announced by the Chancellor are significant. In addition to the £51m provided to our region by the government to help mitigate the most recent restrictions requested by local leaders, we should also welcome additional measures such as the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan and the significant support provided to local councils.

“As a former Member of Parliament, you will yourself be aware that Opposition Day debates are non-binding on the Government, including this afternoons motion on furlough pay.

“Whilst I am sympathetic to its aims, we both know it will not address the problems you have identified nor will it help our constituents.

“The only way to successfully secure those things you described in your letter is to work cross-party and in tandem with the government, to secure a better deal for our area and those living here, as was demonstrated this week with the reopening of our gyms.”

Following the vote Metro Mayor Steve Rotherham said: “In April, Southport residents – like the rest of the country – were entitled to 80% furlough while on lockdown. Today, their MP has voted to say that 6 months on, he thinks they’re worth less.”