Protection of Jobs and Businesses

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 1:11 pm on 9th September 2020.

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Photo of Steve Barclay Steve Barclay The Chief Secretary to the Treasury 1:11 pm, 9th September 2020

I absolutely share the concern set out by the right hon. Lady. From conversations that we have had in previous roles, I know how much she advocates for her constituency, and I support that business engaging with her, the council, trade unions and others. I will come on to a number of measures that the Government have taken, and some further measures that we will take, regarding our wider support package to the business community.

This should be set in the context of the three-phase approach. In the first phase of this crisis, the Government introduced measures to halt the spread of the disease. That included protecting our public services with more than £49 billion of funding for the NHS, schools, local authorities and other front-line services. The Chancellor said that he would do whatever is needed to support our NHS, and that is what he delivered. Our plan supported people, with the furlough scheme supporting nearly 10 million jobs—jobs that might otherwise have been lost.

The self-employed scheme provided 2.6 million people with £7.6 billion of support, and mortgage and credit payment holidays helped 1.9 million people to manage their finances—Jim Shannon referred to that earlier. For those who are out of work, we made welfare support more supportive and easier to access, and we introduced a hardship fund to help up to 3 million of the most vulnerable people. Of course our plan backed business, because we know that only by supporting businesses can we create sustainable jobs.