Millions of Brits will have their cash supply cut off within days as the Government's furlough scheme ends despite fears a second wave of coronavirus is on the horizon.
Boris Johnson has outright refused to extend the programme as ministers ignored pleas from Labour and other political parties that axing it was "shortsighted".
He said: "One of the difficulties with the furlough scheme, if we extend it more widely, is that you are just keeping people in suspended animation when really we want people to get back to work if they possibly can, in a Covid-secure way."
Furlough has kept the wolf from the door for millions of Brits who would have found themselves jobless.
But Chancellor Rishi Sunak's brainchild has hit the government hard in the wallet – costing an eye-watering £34bn.
Tory MPs saw down a Labour call demanding that the Government "abandon its one-size-fits-all" scrapping of the furlough scheme.
Sir Keir Starmer's party want targeted support for businesses affected by Covid-19.
But the motion was defeated by 249 votes to 329, majority 80.
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Shadow Treasury minister Bridget Phillipson said it would be "a mistake" to end the furlough scheme now.
She added: "We are far from through this crisis. It will be a mistake to pull away that support prematurely. It will damage our economy in the long-run, it will hit those sectors of our economy that are world-leading.
"We should not make that mistake."
The SNP's economic spokeswoman Alison Thewliss warned the Commons that ending the scheme now as a second wave of the deadly virus looms would be a disaster.
She said: "A further spike and further local restrictions seem absolutely inevitable too, so ending support now is incredibly short-sighted."
But Chief Secretary to the Treasury Steve Barclay refused to budge.
He told MPs: "Jobs will be lost, businesses will close and as the Chancellor said last month, hard times are here.
"It has been one of the most difficult decisions the Government has taken, but this is the right one and I would remind the House of the extent of the support that we have offered.
"Firstly the furlough is over eight months already, it is one of the most generous schemes in the world and we have been contributing at a higher rate of people’s wages than in Spain.
"We are supporting a wider range of businesses than in New Zealand and our scheme will run for twice as long as in Denmark.”
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