Great Britain

Ex-PM Gordon Brown accuses Rishi Sunak of ignoring industries that still can’t open

FORMER PM Gordon Brown calls on Rishi Sunak to go back to the drawing board to help deal with a winter of job losses.

It comes as Labour warns the Chancellor risks throwing a million jobs on to the scrap heap by ignoring industries that still can’t open.

And Mr Brown is concerned the pandemic will leave 500,000 young people condemned to a “no hope, no work future.”

Mr Brown will urge Mr Sunak to call a UK-wide jobs summit of the nations to secure their future.

Speaking at a Communication Workers Union conference today Mr Brown will say: "I now believe - facing a winter of massive job losses, rapidly-mounting unemployment and a wave of businesses bankruptcies - the Chancellor must go back to the drawing board, call a jobs summit to understand the despair in communities and rewrite his winter plan by fixing its fundamental flaws.”

He argues the Chancellor’s support does nothing new for the 1.5million currently unemployed, nothing new for the 900,000 on Universal Credit who will soon be registered as unemployed, and nothing for self employed workers excluded from the current schemes.

He will add: ”Millions of workers need far more help if they are to get jobs or stay in jobs.

New analysis by Labour using ONS data shows that more than a million workers are in these sectors, like the weddings industry, events and exhibitions, major parts of the night-time economy, festivals, sports venues and theatres - and risk being lost.

The critics Mr Sunak for not acknowledging their plight or the fact that they will be forced to remain fully or mainly closed for the next six months.

Lucy Powell MP, Shadow Minister for Business and Consumers, said: “The Chancellor is consigning whole sectors of our economy to the scrap heap, damaging lives and livelihoods, and threatening the recovery.

“The failure of Ministers to ensure an effective Test, Track and Trace system means that many businesses have no idea when they can reopen. The decision to shut these firms out of the Job Support Scheme adds insult to injury.

“Labour has called for the government to come forward with an effective plan to recover jobs, retrain workers and rebuild businesses. This isn’t it.

“Even for those who can access it, the Job Support Scheme is badly designed and could lead to a wave of job losses, because the Chancellor’s sums do not add up for businesses. He must think again, before the jobs crisis reaches tipping point.”

Amanda Milling MP, Co-Chairman of the Conservative Party, said: “We know that many people are worried about their future, which is why the Chancellor has put in place a Winter Economy Plan to support jobs and businesses.

“This is in addition to one of the most comprehensive packages of support in the world – worth £190 billion so far.

“For all their political point-scoring, we are yet to hear a plan from Labour beyond empty statements. Rather than viewing the pandemic as a ‘good crisis’ to exploit, they should focus on acting in the nation’s interest – not just their own.”

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