Covid-19: Economy - Motion to Consider

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 2:43 pm on 4th June 2020.

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Photo of Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth Conservative 2:43 pm, 4th June 2020

My Lords, I thank the noble Lord, Lord Eatwell, for introducing the debate so powerfully and seeking to address the towering challenges of the age. Like other noble Lords, I recognise the praiseworthy, decisive early action of the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak. Like my noble friend Lord Hunt of Wirral, I think that we need to move forward together, as one nation. In the limited time that I have, I will suggest some areas of action to my noble friend the Minister. I would be grateful for his comments and, hopefully, endorsement.

On education, many individuals, particularly those in deprived areas, have lost out on tuition. We need to make good the lost chances of youth. That is an area for action. Where redundancies have caused the loss of apprenticeships, people need a real chance to get a new role. The Government should move quickly towards an increase in online provision to build on the expertise of the Open University and other higher education institutions.

Green investment along with government money seems an obvious way to tackle decarbonisation, provide a green stimulus, provide jobs and provide government activity, building on COP 26 next year in Glasgow. That is important. We should use our G7 presidency similarly. Investment in housing is also needed to provide jobs and homes. As other noble Lords have done, I lend my support to strong action to protect our valuable cultural sector, which is vital to our national life, vital for jobs and vital for social and economic reasons. I hope that the Minister will endorse these areas in his response.