Today was the Government’s opportunity to invest in jobs and the future economy, instead the Chancellor responded to his bleak economic forecast with providing little hope to families and communities which are struggling at this time.
While the 3 million ‘excluded’ workers remained exempt from any Government Covid19 support , he offered the lowest paid less than £5 a week uplift to their pay. This will only extenuate poverty and further increase inequality at a time that prices are rise sharply. All public sector workers, bar our NHS staff, who have also gone to extraordinary lengths this year to keep us safe, have been forgotten. A clap was never enough for our care staff, teachers, support staff, refuse workers, job centre workers and the army of men and women who worked day and night to support us throughout this difficult year. Today’s failure to acknowledge this will come like a punch in their stomach.
While the Chancellor has flittered millions on failed PPE contracts and on companies which are also Tory Party donors, those who have donated their time and resources have received nothing. Charities, who have been #NeverMoreNeeded, and have now lost over £10bn in income due to fundraising drying up and shops closing, now feel abandoned. They are now #NeverMoreInNeed as 20% of charities may fold, not least as accompanying documents to today’s statement called for further rationing in the sector. Perhaps most disturbing was his announcement of slashing the overseas aid budget by a third, meaning that vital aid to the world’s poorest will never be used to save lives; a truly shameful act.
Spending Reviews should focus on vital investment in the future of the country, rebuilding public services and investing in skills and jobs. At a time such as now, we have been left with so much uncertainty and questions about how the jobs challenge will be addressed. While I welcome the commitment to invest £5.6bn to protect communities from flooding, there was no detail in today’s statement whether it will be spent on upper catchment management, which the Government previously committed to.
Labour wants Britain to be a great place to grow up in and a great place to grow old in, today gave no such hope. However I will work with people across York to seek out opportunities to rebuild our city through the Levelling Up Fund and make the case for York’s future.