Protection of Jobs and Businesses

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:40 pm on 9th September 2020.

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Photo of Catherine West Catherine West Shadow Minister (Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs) 3:40 pm, 9th September 2020

Indeed. No one on this side of the Chamber is saying that any of that money was not very much called for. There was a tiny bit of wastage, according to the Select Committee findings that I read yesterday, but I hope that, over time, the Treasury will get rid of the £3.5 billion wastage.

I have some asks for my constituency and I have my figures here. I am a London MP, and many Members who know London will be aware that Muswell Hill ward is not considered to be a low-income place. Unfortunately, however, it has seen an increase of 300% in jobseeker’s allowance and universal credit claimants. The neighbouring Fortis Green ward, which is also considered quite an expensive and well-to-do part of my constituency, is facing a 234% increase in the number of people signing on. Alexandra ward is home to the famous and beautiful Alexandra Palace exhibition hall, the former home of the BBC, and it is a lovely part of my constituency. It has seen a 220% increase in the number of people claiming jobseeker’s allowance and universal credit. The difference between this recession and the 2008 global financial crash is the impact that this one has had across the economy.

Lots of people are very well paid when they are in work, but because they are self-employed, they are suffering exponentially. What are my asks? First. I am asking for sector-specific schemes for workers, so that we can look at the self-employed and particularly those in the creative sector. Secondly, I am asking for specific help for people who, for example, have a small business and are helping several of their employees to manage but have not had anything back for themselves. In conclusion—