KIRKCALDY and Cowdenbeath MP, Neale Hanvey, is calling on the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, to agree a customised and flexible extension to the furlough scheme for the aviation, travel and tourism industries.

The local MP is already supporting many constituents that have been made redundant or pressured into taking unpaid leave as coronavirus impacts on the aviation industry, and he has warned that there will be further redundancies across all three sectors unless urgent action is taken.

Mr Hanvey is very aware of the massive input tourism has on the Kingdom economy with the likes of Lochore Meadows Country Park and Falkland Palace among the biggest attractions.

In a letter sent by Mr Hanvey, and his colleagues in the cross-party Future of Aviation Group, the Parliamentarians call on the Chancellor to consider the exceptional circumstances facing aviation, travel and tourism. They point out that these sectors will take significantly longer to recover than other industries and specifically call on Mr Sunak to agree an extension to the furlough scheme to support jobs.

Mr Hanvey has also called on the Chancellor to convert the current loan scheme to grant support, to allow the Scottish Government to provide additional grants for the tourism sector and other vital industries most at risk.

Tourism is worth over £400m to the Fife economy each year, with 10.7 percent of Fifers employed in the industry.

Commenting Mr Hanvey said: “Companies involved in tourism, travel and aviation are key employers for folk in my constituency and we desperately need the UK Government to provide the right financial support to protect these jobs.

“I’m already supporting constituents who were unnecessarily made redundant following the collapse of Flybe, and now we have Menzies Aviation announcing redundancies which will see 150 jobs going at Edinburgh Airport.

“That’s why I’m calling on the UK Government to extend the Coronavirus Job Retention scheme beyond October to support jobs in these sectors and to allow them to play their full role in our economic recovery.

“Cutting off this support before aviation, travel and tourism have been able to recover will have disastrous consequences for Fife.”