A CWMBRAN man who is self-isolating has said he could be left on the brink of financial ruin after finding out the government's furlough pay scheme does not apply to him.

Last week, chancellor Rishi Sunak announced the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, through which the government will pay 80 per cent of the wages of people put on furlough during the coronavirus crisis.

But those who started new jobs after Friday, February 28, do not qualify for this scheme - including Craig Chilton, 30, who started his job as a dispensing technician in Cwmbran on Monday, March 2.


After he started his job Mr Chilton received a letter from the NHS advising him to self-isolate for 12 weeks due to his severe asthma.

His employer put him on furlough, with Mr Chilton believing he could claim 80 per cent of his pay through the government scheme. But he later learned he was ineligible.

"The opticians were left with either making me redundant, which they don’t want to do, or I have to take unpaid leave," he said. "I’m left with a mortgage to pay for. We have been able to take the three-month holiday for it, but I’ve still got bills and food to pay for.

"I've been paying into the system for 14 years and I have now been left behind.

"I’m speaking on behalf of thousands across the UK. We have been told that we need to go back to our old employer and beg them to put us back in their employment. But some people leave on bad terms, or others might be returning to work after time off or maternity leave, and some might have just started their first job – so not everyone has that to fall back on.

"We can claim Universal Credit, but my partner is receiving 80 per cent of her income. Because of that, I am only eligible for around £9 a month on Universal Credit.


"I’m in a fortunate position that my partner is getting some money in and we don’t have children, and I appreciate there are people out there in a worse position than me, but we still have bills to pay and need to buy food.

"We are due to get married next year but we might have to push that back as we are not sure if we will be able to afford it.

"It’s not that I don’t want to work. I’ve always worked for the past 14 years, it’s just I can’t without putting my health at risk and potentially being a burden on my partner and on the NHS."

Mr Chilton has approached Torfaen MP Nick Thomas-Symonds for help.

Mr Thomas-Symonds said: “The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has a cut-off date of February 28 for eligibility for furlough.

“This works unfairly against those who happened to have started a new job after that date.

“I have written to the Treasury about this and hope the Chancellor will plug this gap in his proposals.

“Doing 'whatever it takes' to get through this crisis must mean exactly that and I very much hope the Chancellor will listen.”

A petition has been set up calling on the Government to amend its Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to include people who started work after February 28.

You can find the petition here.