I will keep this short and sweet, Mr Deputy Speaker, as time is precious and you do not need me to reiterate what we know is a bold and decisive plan—a plan for jobs; a plan with people and their livelihoods at its heart.
The Chancellor has yet again acted with a keen eye to preserving employment and our fiscal and economic capacity. As we recover from covid-19, the No. 1 priority of the Government has always been to protect jobs. Just as the virus scythed through society and did not articulate who it was going for, any economic impact will cut deep swathes. It will not discriminate; it will cut across us all. What we must remember is that this time it is not an endogenous shock triggered by huge imbalances; it is not man-made, as it has been in the past by Labour Governments. This is a slowdown necessitated by covid-19 and we have seen decisive action by this Government, who for the last few months have given us stabilisers to protect our livelihoods and who now recognise that we need to get the economy back into a higher gear.
My No. 1 priority as the MP for Stourbridge has always been to protect jobs. As a youth in the early ’80s, I saw the impact of unemployment on young people. That, combined with my strong belief in the nobility of work, means that I am over the moon about the Chancellor’s kick-start scheme, which will give 16 to 24-year-old youths the best possible chance.
I make an unabashed plug to get nail bars and beauty salons open. They are often run by people who have been on traineeships themselves and who now run their own businesses, proving that traineeships work—they are capitalists at their finest and of the future. Please, let us get them open.
This Government are giving us the tools to enable, facilitate and empower us all. The virus is not of our making, but we must make the best of it. We must be transformational and dig deep in the spirit of entrepreneurism. If you cannot sell it, online is your new high street and your new export opportunity. This is about being entrepreneurial, about foraging for opportunities and of course about jobs, jobs, jobs. This has been at the heart of my recovery plan for Stourbridge. I also welcome the joint announcement today from Andy Street and the Department for Work and Pensions that youth hubs will be set up, helping to join up local employment and training services and to ensure that they are targeting young people. This builds on the already great work being done by our jobcentres across the west midlands.
The Government’s support throughout the crisis has been decisive, and it will be a major factor in how we will come out of this period It is clear from the actions that the Government have taken that they are not a Government who leave people behind. They are a Government who put people and their livelihoods at their very heart. However, this will depend on our shared responsibility to contain the virus and, of course, on whether a vaccine—