The Economy

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:13 pm on 8th July 2020.

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Photo of Alison Thewliss Alison Thewliss Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Treasury) 4:13 pm, 8th July 2020

I agree with the hon. Member. Not all industries are in exactly the same position. Some cannot open now. Some will not be able to open for some months. As hon. Members said earlier, some might not open fully until next year. The International Monetary Fund has said that the UK’s GDP could drop by 10.2%, and the scale of the response must meet the scale of the challenge we face, or we could be looking at years of unemployment and hardship across the UK.

Simon Jack, the BBC’s business editor, made a very interesting point about the scale of the challenge facing business and the gamble that business are now taking. As he said, the calculation facing business owners is: are they prepared to pay 5% of the wages of furloughed workers in August, 15% in September and 24% in October, plus £1,560 from November, to get a £1,000 bonus in January? It will depend on demand that the Chancellor is trying to stimulate with food discounts and VAT cuts. It is a gamble for many businesses, and we can see from all the job cuts in the past week, that gamble means people losing their jobs now.