The Economy

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:46 pm on 8th July 2020.

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Photo of Wes Streeting Wes Streeting Shadow Exchequer Secretary (Treasury) 3:46 pm, 8th July 2020

The hon. Gentleman makes a really important point. Of course, the devolved Administrations can provide their own policy responses, but we know that decisions taken here on public spending have a direct impact on their ability to respond accordingly, too.

We have said throughout this crisis that we would not criticise for criticism sake, and beyond the kick-start future jobs fund announced today, we welcome the attempt to make sure that the furlough scheme gets people back to work, instead of making them redundant through the jobs retention bonus. We are glad that the Chancellor included provision to get people into training and apprenticeships in his statement, and we welcome the additional resources provided to the Department for Work and Pensions to help get people back into work. In so far as they can, we hope that the cut in VAT and the limited “eat out to help out” scheme will be of some assistance to our tourism and hospitality industries, but this falls far short of what we called for and what was promised. We were promised a new deal, but the Chancellor’s big announcement was a meal deal. The Chancellor said that we cannot have endless extensions to the job retention scheme, which was echoed by the Chief Secretary, and that we cannot allow furloughing to go on forever. We agree. We have never argued otherwise. This straw man argument does a real disservice to the concerns coming from those employers and industries that face the biggest and longest hit as a result of covid-19.