This week the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, delivered his Summer Economic Statement, which was touted as a ‘New Deal’ to save the economy.
However, the scale of the measures he announced simply doesn’t match the scale of the economic crisis we face as a result of Coronavirus. The Chancellor promised a £1,000 Job Retention Bonus for every worker that businesses bring back from furlough, taking a one-size- fits-all approach to recovery. This will do nothing to help the many businesses in my Constituency who can’t work profitably (or indeed, at all) because of the ongoing effects of health restrictions. Sectors like aviation, aerospace manufacturing and technical production are all affected. When furlough ends, many companies in these vital sectors will have no choice but to make people redundant. These companies can’t bring people back to work if, by law, they can’t operate. You can watch my question to the Chancellor on this below.
So much was lacking from the Chancellor’s statement to protect jobs – no further measures for the self-employed even though the existing support scheme is due to end in a few weeks, nothing for universities and nothing for freelance workers.
It’s welcome that the Government is pledging to support young people through their “Kickstarter Fund” for training and apprenticeships (which looks extremely similar to the Future Jobs Guarantee plans from the last Labour Government which the Conservative Coalition Government abolished)! However, these plans simply don’t address the scale of the youth unemployment. Over 400,000 young people were already out of work pre-crisis, and a further 800,000 are set to enter the labour market. The Government’s plans also offer nothing for the millions of unemployed older people.
Ultimately, the Government has failed to build an effective test, track and isolate system which has damaged public confidence. They need to get this right, rather than offering gimmicks like £10 vouchers off meals in restaurants, for confidence to grow and our economy to get back on track. You can watch a video where I talk about this below.