Shadow chancellor Anneliese Dodds said Labour acknowledges that the Government has had to make big decisions. But as she claimed Labour has been a “constructive opposition” to the Government throughout the coronavirus pandemic, Tory MPs loudly burst into laughter.
Responding to Rishi Sunak’s statement, Ms Dodds said: “Our country has been through a great deal over these past few months. Hundreds of thousands have wrestled with this terrible disease. For many months people have had to go without being able to embrace their loved ones even to say goodbye.
“Tens of thousands have died. Our NHS, social care and other workers have made extraordinary sacrifices, we owe them so much.
“The Government has had to take big decisions too, we acknowledge that, but today should have been the day when our government chose to build a bridge between what has been done so far and what needs to be done to get out economy moving again.”
Dodds added that the Chancellor should have introduced a “back to work budget” and not a statement.
She said: “It should have been the day when the millions of British people worried about their jobs and future prospects had a load taken off of their shoulders.
“It should have been the day when we got the UK economy firing again.
“Today, Britain should have had a back to work budget, but instead we got this summer statement with many of the big decisions put off until later as the benches opposite know full well.”
The Labour frontbencher said “fear is hurting our economy” and urged the Government to “get this right”.
The shadow chancellor told MPs: “The Government’s contracts with outsourcing firms amount to almost £3 billion but we still haven’t got test, track and isolate working properly in the UK like it is in many other countries.
“And Government still hasn’t got a grip on the low-value and limited scope of sick pay, risking people’s ability to self-isolate.
“Fear is corrosive, fear is hurting our economy. Government has got to get this right.”
Responding to a remark by the Prime Minister, Anneliese Dodds said: “The Prime Minister said ‘what have I been doing about that?’.
“My party has been repeatedly suggesting solutions to the public health problems facing our country and we need to adopt them in the UK before this crisis becomes even more severe.”
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Ms Dodds concluded: “The Chancellor still needs to abandon his one size fits all approach to withdrawing the job retention and self-employed schemes.
“No one is saying those schemes should stay as they are indefinitely, we have never said that on this side of the House, but we have said that the money spent on the job retention scheme must not serve merely to postpone unemployment.
“The scheme must live up to its name, supporting employment in industries that are viable in the long-term and we need a strategy for the scheme to become more flexible so it can support those businesses forced to close again because of additional localised lockdowns.
“There is still time to avoid additional floods of redundancy notices. It is the Government’s duty to help Britain through this.”
Published at Wed, 08 Jul 2020 12:22:00 +0000