People need security and opportunity. Yesterday, the Chancellor failed to convince us that the government has a plan to deliver either.
Although there is much in yesterday's statement that Labour does support, the fact is that yesterday's intervention comes too late for those who have already lost their jobs as many large firms' deadlines for redundancy consultations were last week.
In total, Labour has called for a system of targeted wage support forty times, but the government had previously ruled it out twenty times. While the Chancellor's eleventh-hour U-turn on his furlough cliff edge is welcome, there are concerns that under the scheme, it may be cheaper for some companies to bring back one member of staff full-time and fire another, rather than bring both workers back part-time.
That's why in her speech on Monday, Anneliese Dodds set out Labour’s proposal for a Job Recovery Scheme which would address that specific principle, “The scheme would incentivise targeted businesses to bring back more workers part-time, instead of bringing some back full time and letting others go.”
Labour's proposal goes further than the government’s new scheme by including a training component, more conditionality and targeting.
Labour is calling for:
A Job Recovery Scheme which gives businesses and workers much needed certainty by enabling businesses in key sectors to allow staff to work reduced hours, with government subsidising a proportion of wages for the rest of the week.
A nationwide Retraining Strategy for the unemployed and those facing unemployment to help those whose hours have been cut to increase their skills or to retrain, and enable people who have lost their jobs to transition into new work.
And a Business Rebuilding Programme to give businesses the certainty they crave and so we don’t end up once again with last-minute panicked schemes that waste public money.
Today, I was joined by the Harborne neighbourhood police team, Waqar Ahmed, Assistant Director for Community Safety, Cllr Carl Rice and many North Edgbaston residents on our walkabout around Fountain Road to listen to residents' concerns about crime and anti-social behaviour in the area.
I've written to Dominic Raab to request further information on the new FCDO department which replaced DfID and asked, again, for him to explain where the £2.9 billion in cuts to the aid budget he announced will fall.
I sent it six weeks ago, yet I am still waiting for a reply to my letter and to my request for a meeting.
This shows a government once again avoiding scrutiny.
These latest statistics confirm that this government sees the UK aid budget as its own personal slush fund to cover for their underfunding of other government departments.
Spending aid through different government departments, like the Home Office which is repeatedly found to lack accountability, transparency and value for money for British taxpayers, has seen more aid going to richer countries.
This government cannot continue to use aid money in this way and must ensure the aid budget goes to those who need it to make the UK an active force for good in the world, and once again admired and respected on the world stage.