Rachael Maskell MP was expecting a comprehensive package to prevent thousands of residents falling into unemployment in York. While welcoming elements of the Chancellor’s statement, she expressed serious concern when reading the detail in the accompanying document ‘A Plan for Jobs 2020’.
The Chancellor confirmed that the Job Retention Scheme and Self Employed Income Support Scheme would come to an end, as the Government focus on the unemployed. Ms. Maskell believed that more focus should have been put in place to stop people losing their jobs in the first place and a stronger bridge between current arrangements and future job schemes should have been built.
In mirroring Labour’s Future Jobs Fund from the start of the last recession, the Kickstart Jobs Scheme will provide vital support to bring young people into work, but the MP has serious concern that after being hired, they could be fired if more protection around these jobs is not provided.
York faces some very severe challenges in the light of the economic downturn where some predict that we could see unemployment rise to as high as 18%. The MP for York Central is concerned that by the time the Government’s packages are set up, that 1000s could have already lost their jobs, and was very surprised that huge swathes of the economy were not mentioned in his statement from the Voluntary Sector through to the self-employed; all in need of urgent support.
Disappointingly there was no attempt by the chancellor to increase the much needed increase to social security, nor to cut the 5 week wait for Universal Credit, leaving those who have fallen through the net in serious poverty. While the £10 meal voucher is attractive for those who can afford to eat out, there was nothing for those who cannot afford to eat.
The MP welcomes steps to invest in retrofitting homes and public sector buildings and trusts that these initial steps to rebuilding the economy will kick start a sustainable approach, but this will only be realised if other spending moves from carbon-based solutions to the net-zero ambition needed to address the climate challenge.
York will benefit from the VAT cuts of 20% to 5% for the food, accommodation and attractions but unless seeded with investment funding, this will not be enough to turn our local economy around.
Rachael Maskell MP said, “The Chancellor was notable in his silence in saying why Britain, according to the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development), is facing an economic downturn of 11.5%, far higher than comparative countries of Germany, France, Spain and Italy. The mishandling of the Covid-19 crisis has plummeted our economy and cost vital jobs.
While some elements of his proposals are to be welcome, it was a mixed picture as many parts of the economy are forgotten in his plan. Charities that have provided a lifeline in the Covid-19 response are completely overlooked, while the 3.5m who have fallen through the gaps in his current rescue packages continue to be ignored.
We need an economic strategy that benefits everyone, and while a meal deal voucher might have sounded attractive, we needed a real deal to put our economy on a strong footing for the future and vitally save millions of jobs. I fear that we will experience more economic pain here in York unless more action is taken, but time is running out.”
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