YORK Central MP Rachael Maskell warned the Prime Minister that 22 per cent of the city's residents could lose their jobs if the furlough scheme is not extended.

The furlough scheme ends on October 31 - meaning employers will then have to pick up the full bill for staff salaries - meaning some staff may be made redundant if companies cannot pay out.

Any employers planning to lay off more than 100 workers must open a consultation at least 45 days before redundancies are made - with yesterday, Wednesday, being the deadline for those consultations to be launched.

Businesses laying off between 20 and 99 people need to give 30 days' notice.

Ms Maskell told Boris Johnson that 17,700 residents in York Central face losing their jobs.

"The Prime Minister holds the power to save jobs or sacrifice the livelihoods of my constituents," she said in the House of Commons.

"Currently, 17,700 people living in my constituency of York Central are furloughed; their future rests in his hands.

"Next month, 22 per cent of my constituents could lose their jobs and futures unless furlough is extended.

"Reformed, yes; more flexible, a must; targeted, absolutely. Extend and review is the only way forward. My question is: will the Prime Minister do that?"

But Mr Johnson said he did not believe simply extending the furlough scheme "is the right way" - saying government would instead work on "putting our arms around the workforce".

He said: "We need to get people off furlough and into work, and that is what the Government are doing.

"That is why we have the £2 billion kickstart fund, in particular to help young people into work, and why we have the job retention bonus to encourage employers to take people back on and continue to employ people.

"To answer the point [...] directly, we will continue to apply, as I said just now, the maximum creativity—as we have—in putting our arms round the workforce of the UK."

Len McCluskey, general secretary of Unite, has written to Boris Johnson, warning that workers face a “miserable” Christmas because of fears of huge job losses when the job retention scheme ends next month.

Speaking after Prime Minister's Questions, Ms Maskell said she is "fearful" the city will see high levels of unemployment.

She added: “The Prime Minister said that the Government would put his arms around the workforce, but people in York don’t need his arms they need their jobs."

"I am very fearful that by cutting this vital lifeline at this critical time, York will see extremely high levels of unemployment that will have a devastating impact on the lives of people in the city now and in the future. "