The latest Government figures provide a clear picture of just how vital the support package announced by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, has been for our local economy. Up to 30 June 2020, 13,300 jobs had been furloughed through the Government's Job Retention Scheme in the Folkestone and Hythe constituency, which was 29% of all eligible local jobs. Also, by that date 4,900 claims were made to the Self Employment Income Support scheme, equivalent to 75% of the potentially eligible population. The Government is also offering businesses £1,000 per employee for every job they bring back out of furlough. I know that the next few months are going to be a very difficult time for many people, as not all jobs and businesses will return as they were left when the lockdown started at the end of March. However, we will do all we can to get the economy back on its feet, and to support people on that journey. If you have any concerns about your own circumstances or for any reason are not able to access the support you need, please let me know.
Folkestone and Hythe District Council has also received a further £219,926 from the Government in additional financial support for the services it administers, bringing the total of the additional funding it has received since the start of the coronavirus restrictions to over £1.4 million. This is in recognition of the extra demands that have been placed on local authorities at this time. I would like to thank everyone at the Council for their excellent work during this period, and especially those who have helped to co-ordinate the response from the community hubs.
I have seen a number of surveys in the last few weeks showing that many people would like to be able to work more often from home, and for those who commute to London, to do so less frequently. I was interested to read that Great Western Railways is proposing to offer commuters a three day a week rail pass, and along with my fellow Kent MPs, we have written to Southeastern trains asking if they would introduce a similar scheme for people in Kent. This would support flexible working and also provide a saving for people who currently hold a season ticket based on commuting every day, when they do not really require that many journeys. I will let you know when we receive a response.
On Friday this week I will be holding surgeries in my office at 4 West Cliff Gardens in Folkestone. We will be enforcing all of the required social distancing measures and have plenty of space for people to wait before their appointment. If you would like to arrange a time to meet me, please call 01303 253 524 or 020 7219 7072 or email [email protected]. I am planning to resume my full programme of surgeries in Folkestone, Hythe, Romney Marsh and the North Downs in September.