ANGELA Rayner, MP for Failsworth and Ashton, has expressed concern for businesses in Oldham that are merely “clinging on” and has called for “proper economic support.”

In response to Boris Johnson’s roadmap, Ms Rayner said: “Businesses throughout my constituency have been operating under increased restrictions since last July and a great number of them are just about clinging on.Many won’t be able to open until mid-April at the earliest with others forced to stay closed until late June.”

The Labour deputy leader added:”I understand the health basis for that decision, but restrictions must always be accompanied by proper economic support.Businesses cannot wait until the Budget next week – they are crying out for certainty and the Prime Minister should be able to tell them that business rates relief will be extended, that furlough will be extended, and that VAT will be cut for hospitality and leisure.”

Ms Rayner also said there was a current lack of support offered by government to the self-employed and the need for isolation payments to be made more widely available.

She said: “The Prime Minister should also announce proper support for the three million self-employed who have been ignored for the last year.”

She added:“Labour has proposed that the £500 isolation payment – which is currently only available to one in eight workers – be made available to everyone who needs it and does not have occupational sick pay.

Jim McMahon, MP for Oldham West and Royton, also a member of the shadow Cabinet, reiterated the need for extended financial support. He said: “The Government has got to listen to its own scientists and it’s got to listen to businesses, financial support must continue and the Chancellor must back this up next week at the budget.

There is speculation that the Chancellor Rishi Sunak will extend the furlough scheme and push back the deadline on business rate relief in his March 3 spring budget.