Public Health Restrictions: Government Economic Support

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:38 pm on 13th October 2020.

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Photo of Anneliese Dodds Anneliese Dodds Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer 12:38 pm, 13th October 2020

Just over a month ago the Conservatives passed a motion in the House stating that

“any deviation from this Government’s proposed plan will cause damage to the United Kingdom economy.”

The first deviation came two weeks later when the Chancellor announced his sink-or-swim job support scheme, design faults in which are already leading to substantial and unnecessary job losses. The second deviation came as a belated response to the imposition of localised restrictions announced on television last Friday, with further measures announced yesterday—yet Leicester, for example, has been under localised restrictions for over 100 days. The Chancellor told us to learn our new limits as we go. His handling of the economic crisis is testing patience to its limits, especially the patience of those whose jobs are threatened.

The Government must answer many critical questions, but here are just three: first, why will local areas be provided with support for test, trace and isolate only once they are already in tier 3? This is indefensible. Secondly, there is £1.3 billion-worth of unspent local grants. Why will not the Government allow this money to be used to support local businesses in affected areas? Thirdly, why are workers in closed businesses expected to face poverty as a result of the businesses they work for doing the right thing?