Protection of Jobs and Businesses

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 2:29 pm on 9th September 2020.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Ruth Edwards Ruth Edwards Conservative, Rushcliffe 2:29 pm, 9th September 2020

The furlough scheme has done so much over the past few months for people in my constituency. In Rushcliffe, over 12,500 jobs have been protected by the coronavirus job retention scheme, over 3,000 self-employed people have been claiming support through the self-employed income support, and over £18 million in grants has been distributed to businesses in Rushcliffe. However, my hon. Friend is right that we must have sound public finances and that we cannot just carry on with support in this way forever.

Contrary to the claims of the parties on the Opposition Benches, support for business and jobs is not ending in October. It is changing. We must be honest with ourselves and the public about the future. Our economy is going to change. Coronavirus did not just press pause on businesses, but accelerated the big changes we will see in our economy and were always going to see in our economy in the medium term through the adoption of new technologies such as AI, data analytics and robotics, the fusion of our digital and physical worlds, changing the world of work as we know it and changing the mix of skills in the economy.

Change is unsettling. It makes us anxious and fearful. However, it also provides huge opportunities and we must make sure that those opportunities are there for everyone. The measures the Government are now taking as part of their plans for jobs will help to make sure that that is the case: over £100 million to triple the scale of traineeships; £32 million to recruit careers advisers for 250,000 people; double the number of work coaches to help people find jobs where they may have been lost; triple the number of sector work-based placements; and investing in apprenticeship creation for people of all ages. That is what the Government are, and should be, focused on: training people for the new economy and the new opportunities it will bring.