I beg to move, That the Bill be now read the Third time.
Mr Deputy Speaker, let me say how gracefully you migrated from being Chairman to Mr Deputy Speaker without any of us really noticing the change—thank you for that brilliant transfiguration. It is extraordinary to think that it is now four months almost to the day since my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer stood before the House to deliver the Government’s first Budget. That proved to be the first in a series of very large economic interventions from this Government, all of which have been designed to buttress our public services and protect the most vulnerable in our society from this virus, while also supporting people’s jobs and livelihoods through the lockdown. Four months on, as he said, a “new phase” has begun in the Government’s economic response to covid-19 with the publication of our plan for jobs.
As the Chancellor made clear when he addressed the House last Wednesday, there is no room for dogma or ideology in this approach. If the first phase of our response focused on protection, this second phase is focused on the need to give everyone the opportunity of good and secure work in the future. However, it is certainly not the last measure that we will enact. The Government have said that they will bring forward both a Budget and a spending review in the autumn, when we will be in a better position to put our public finances on a secure footing and consider the long-term fiscal measures required for a sustained and successful recovery. Nor should we forget that many of the programmes that the Government have introduced to date still have a significant time to run. They include the coronavirus jobs retention scheme, the furlough scheme and the self-employment income support scheme, which will continue through the summer and the early autumn before ending in October.
However, at this moment millions of people are still facing considerable uncertainty and fearing for their jobs right now. They need to know that there is hope for the future, which is why we have acted with a plan for jobs. This Bill—I hope soon it will be an Act—is a very important part of that plan for jobs, and I commend it to the House.