Engagements

Part of Prime Minister – in the House of Commons at 12:01 pm on 30th September 2020.

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Photo of Keir Starmer Keir Starmer Leader of Her Majesty's Official Opposition, Leader of the Labour Party 12:01 pm, 30th September 2020

I support the restrictions. I have done so every single time the Prime Minister has introduced them; he wells knows that. Because of the restrictions, lots of people’s jobs—in Newcastle, it is 10,000 people’s jobs in hospitality—are at risk. I support the restrictions, but the question I asked the Prime Minister is: can the economic support go in for those who will lose their jobs? He did not answer that. There are 10,000 people who wanted an answer to that last question, because they are going to lose their jobs by Christmas. Prime Minister, you really should have answered it.

The reality is that the Chancellor has made a political choice to reduce economic support just when the new health restrictions are coming in. If the Prime Minister does not accept that from me, maybe he will listen to the following example from the Chancellor’s own constituency. This is a business owner. Prime Minister, you might want to listen to what he has to say:

“We own a wedding venue in Richmond, North Yorkshire.

The Chancellor’s latest plan

“does nothing to help us…We cannot employ people to work events which the government are not allowing to take place. Our events team are therefore looking in the face of redundancy as we simply cannot afford to pay wages when events are in lockdown…The jobs are viable if only the Government would allow us to return to work.”

He goes on to say:

“My events team are talented and fantastic and it is an insult to suggest their jobs are not worth saving.”

This is not about supporting restrictions, Prime Minister; it is about what the Prime Minister has to say to those who are at risk of losing their jobs and businesses. What, on behalf of the Chancellor, does he say to that business owner?