Covid-19: Recovery Strategies - Motion to Take Note

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 2:44 pm on 11th June 2020.

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Photo of Lord Hastings of Scarisbrick Lord Hastings of Scarisbrick Crossbench 2:44 pm, 11th June 2020

My Lords, my gratitude goes to the noble Baroness, Lady Hayman, for allowing us to discuss fairness and sustainability in the same conversation.

I will focus on fairness, with two particular themes. First, as a result of this pandemic, many companies have decided that well over a million graduate placements or internship opportunities should be cancelled and removed from their working opportunity. Just as the noble Lord, Lord Robathan, said, this trashes the generation coming after us. I cannot understand why certain sectors have thrived in the course of the last 10 weeks to four months of this pandemic and therefore ask the Minister to give us clarity on that. The tech sector and anyone involved in food retail, distribution, health equipment, pharmaceuticals, any aspect of microengineering and, of course, computerisation and mobile have all boosted their massive profits and incomes legitimately. Surely they could mop up the internships and graduate work necessary to protect more than a million young people from coming out of university and finding there is no sustainable work for them. Will the Minister commit to rounding up the chief executives of those companies and requiring them to mop up the places left behind by other businesses?

Secondly, on fairness, this is the week of George Floyd’s funeral. One great aspect of unfairness that remains in our society is the unique way in which black and ethnic minority people are harassed by our public services, particularly the police. If we are to have a fair society, we need sound experimentation in ending stop and search and seeing whether that delivers better criminal outcomes. After all, the tension on our streets will not go away unless a fair future is available to those people as well.