Labour to urge more support to stem post-Covid job losses

Labour to urge more support to stem post-Covid job losses
Image caption Shadow chancellor Anneliese Dodds with Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer during a visit to a regeneration project in Stevenage last week

More targeted economic support is required to prevent job losses in the wake of Covid-19, the shadow chancellor will say.

In a speech on Friday, Labour s Anneliese Dodds will call for job retention schemes to be extended in areas hit by local lockdowns.

She will call on ministers to end a "one-size-fits-all approach" on help to shore up jobs.

The chancellor is due to outline an economic support package next week.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has promised to bring forward infrastructure investment to create "thousands of high-paid high-skilled jobs".

The government s furlough scheme is paying 80% of the wages of more than 9 million workers but is due to be pared back from August, and will end in October.

Ms Dodd s speech comes after UK companies announced thousands of job cuts this week, with many firms cutting jobs now to reduce costs.

From 1 August, employers will have to pay National Insurance and pension contributions for their staff.

They will then have to pay 10% of furloughed employees salaries from September - rising to 20% in October.

In her speech, Ms Dodds is expected to blame the latest round of job losses on the government "refusing to shift from its one-size-fits-all approach".

She will add workers in struggling sectors "cannot and should not be treated the same way" as those in sectors "already back to full capacity".

"To avoid the same flood of redundancy notices for workers within smaller companies later on this month, government must act now".

She will call on the chancellor to ensure projects announced as part of his recovery package are carbon neutral or help reduce emissions.

She will also say jobs schemes should be extended in areas in localised lockdown, so that spikes in the virus in those areas "don t wash away businesses and jobs in their wake".

Image caption The owner of Cafe Rouge became the latest UK firm to announce job cuts on Thursday.

In an economic statement on Wednesday next week, Chancellor Rishi Sunak is due to set out "the next stage in our plan to secure the recovery".

In a speech earlier this week, Boris Johnson promised a £5bn "new deal" to build homes and infrastructure to help aid a post-Covid economic recovery.

He also outlined plans for an "opportunity guarantee" to ensure every young person had the chance of an apprenticeship or placement.

Responding to Ms Dodds comments, the Conservative Party Co-chairman Amanda Milling said the government had a "clear plan to protect and create jobs".

"Every Labour government has left unemployment higher than when it entered. Sir Keir Starmer would be no different," she added.

Mr Johnson has insisted the furlough scheme must come to an end in October - saying it would not be "healthy" to extend it further.

The hospitality sector, including pubs and restaurants, is reopening in Northern Ireland on Friday, with England following on Saturday.

In Scotland, beer gardens and outdoor restaurants will be allowed to reopen from 6 July. Indoor areas are due to follow from 15 July.
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