The Economy

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 6:52 pm on 8th July 2020.

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Photo of John Glen John Glen Minister of State (Treasury) (City), The Economic Secretary to the Treasury 6:52 pm, 8th July 2020

It is a privilege to close this debate on behalf of the Government and I thank hon. Members from across the House for their varied and considered contributions, which I will reflect on in a few moments.

At the outset of this crisis, the Government introduced a £160 billion package of measures to protect jobs, incomes and businesses from the harm and disruption caused by covid-19. Thanks to the action that we took, millions of jobs and livelihoods have been safeguarded through the worst months of the pandemic. Most importantly, our frontline services have received the money that they need to tackle this virus head-on and to support the most vulnerable in our society, but we have always been clear, as the Chancellor reiterated today, that we are ready to take further action as the circumstances developed.

Throughout this crisis, we have listened to hon. Members across the House, just as we have listened to businesses and those working in public services. That is why we announced the bounce back loan scheme in response to some of the challenges with the CBIL scheme to help the very smallest firms and sole traders who might not otherwise be able to access the finance that they needed. It is why we announced that both the coronavirus jobs retention scheme and the self-employment income support scheme would be extended into the autumn. It is worth remembering that we still have three and a half months to go on those schemes. It is why my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport came to this House on Monday to announce a bespoke package of support for theatres, museums and our hard-hit creative industries. As a former Arts Minister, it is great to see the National Gallery leading the way by opening today.

Today marks a new phase in our new economic response as we look to the future and to our recovery with a plan for jobs. It is a plan that will build on the success of our jobs retention scheme by rewarding and incentivising employers to keep previously furloughed staff in work through the autumn and into the new year by paying them a jobs retention bonus.