Covid-19: Recovery Strategies - Motion to Take Note

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 2:36 pm on 11th June 2020.

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Photo of Baroness Crawley Baroness Crawley Labour 2:36 pm, 11th June 2020

My Lords, I congratulate the noble Baroness, Lady Hayman, on securing this debate. I begin with a couple of general points. There is no way out of the worst economic crisis in living memory if the Government do not reject their magical thinking of pre-Covid days. Tax rises will need to happen from old and new sources, austerity must be shown the door and sustainability and diversity must be our watchwords. The Bank of England will not be able to just keep printing money; that way lies Argentina. The OECD prediction of the UK having economic shrinkage of 11%, even without a second spike, must surely send a red alert to our EU negotiations. As noble Lords have said, a new national consensus on investing in our public transport, our public services, our young people and our green, clean future has to be number one on the Government’s to-do list.

I have one more specific point. It is 50 years since the Equal Pay Act received Royal Assent. The IFS states that mothers are more likely to have quit for family reasons, lost their jobs or been furloughed since lockdown. They are the majority in the current shut-down sectors, and their jobs’ futures are as fragile as feminism in a Trump White House. What hope can the Government give to prevent women becoming Covid afterthoughts?