West Dunbartonshire's MP has joined demands to extend the furlough scheme for people in the area working in travel, tourism and aviation.

Martin Docherty-Hughes MP has backed calls from the All-Party Parliamentary Group for the Future of Aviation for the UK government to extend the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme until March 2022 to protect jobs in the aviation, travel, and tourism sectors.

Mr Docherty-Hughes says he has been contacted by airport staff living in West Dunbartonshire voicing concern about the safety of their jobs once the scheme ends.

The plea follows the release of figures by the Office for National Statistics which showed that 57 per cent of passenger air transport employees remain on furlough alongside 51 per cent of those travel agency and tour operator activities.

The MPs' letter warns that with a lost summer season coming on top of the worst 15 months in the history of UK aviation, that without the continuing support of the Job Retention Scheme the risk of significant redundancies will become a stark and devastating reality.

The SNP MP has joined a cross-party group of 76 parliamentarians urging the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, to not only extend the furlough scheme but to work with industry to provide further much needed financial support whilst they remain under significant restrictions.

Martin Docherty-Hughes MP said: “The aviation, travel and tourism industries have been amongst the worst affected by the pandemic with passenger numbers falling to historically low levels leading to devastating impacts which are being felt throughout the country.

"One third of jobs at Glasgow Airport have already been lost, and a number of my constituents here in West Dunbartonshire whose employment depends on the airport and aviation sector face a worrying future.

“The UK government's removal of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme would come as a devastating blow and will inevitably lead to further job losses.

“The aviation, travel and tourism industry will not be able to recover with the current restrictions in place and as such the UK government must protect these jobs to avoid considerable job losses in Scotland and across the UK.

“I urge Chancellor Rishi Sunak to listen to this cross-party call and continue to protect aviation, travel and tourism jobs and to support these industries through the challenging weeks and months ahead.”

The UK Government has been approached for comment.