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East London councils have revealed how many council employees have been furloughed during the pandemic.
Havering Council has furloughed 260 members of staff “who are unable to work due to Covid-19-related issues”.
The council’s leader said the mass furloughing was necessary to “keep our financial outlook under control” as Government funding fails to bridge the budget gap caused by the pandemic.
Waltham Forest Council says it has furloughed only “a small number of school-based staff” and Redbridge Council has furloughed no employees.
Havering Council leader Cllr Damian White said: “The work we have done to fight coronavirus so far, added to the income lost from everyone having to stay at home, comes to far more than the funding that has come into the council.
“Making an application under the scheme, which Havering Council is entitled to do, is the right action to protect jobs and keep our financial outlook under control.
“Our determination to do what is right for our residents will continue as long as it takes to win this battle.”
He added that he was proud of how the council “responded quickly and decisively to this terrible virus with decisions that back our businesses, keep vital services running and support our residents through difficult times”.
Furloughed staff are receiving their full salary and allowances, which are being paid for through the Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.
A Waltham Forest Council spokesperson said that, as of May 22, they had not furloughed any in-house staff, instead reassigning employees to other services.
A small number of school-based staff, whose roles are funded by parent contributions and who normally run breakfast and after-school clubs, have been furloughed.
A Redbridge Council spokesperson confirmed on May 22 that no employees had been furloughed.