A union boss has said the extension of the UK furlough scheme comes “too late” for thousands of lost jobs in the North Sea oil industry.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced an extension of the jobs retention programme by five months until the end of March.
The move was welcomed by industry body Oil and Gas UK (OGUK), who said it could be a “vital lifeline” for its members, “enabling them to retain hundreds of workers”.
However, John Boland, regional officer at Unite union, said “thousands” of oil and gas roles might have been saved had the government originally planned to keep the scheme through to March.
More than 8,000 jobs are thought to have already been lost so far from the North Sea, which could increase to up to 30,000 in 2021, Oil and Gas UK has predicted.
Mr Boland said: “It’s too late, to be honest with you. It will be good for people in other industries like hospitality and the airline industry, but for oil and gas, I wish this had come sooner because we wouldn’t have had the people made redundant that we have had.”