Below is the text of the comments made by Anneliese Dodds, the Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer, on 8 July 2020.
The money sunk into the Job Retention Scheme must not have merely served to postpone unemployment.
The scheme must now live up to its name – supporting employment in industries which 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.
As we have seen throughout this crisis, the failure to match soaring rhetoric with meaningful action has consequences for people across the country.
Despite all its talk, the Government has failed to create a fully functioning ‘test, track and isolate’ system. This has damaged public confidence and in turn harmed consumer demand.
And despite all its talk, the Government has failed to produce a clear system for local lockdowns. The lack of timely information sharing has led to the imposition of an additional, wide scale lockdown in Leicester.
I say to the Government, if it does increase taxes during the recovery, and cuts back on the public services we all rely on, this will damage demand and inhibit our recovery.
Labour is not calling for tax rises – we are calling for growth.
The Tory manifesto committed to no rises in income tax, National Insurance or VAT and therefore it is for them to set out how any additional spending will be paid for.
It’s the Chancellor’s job to make sure the economy bounces back from this crisis so there is money in the coffers to protect the public finances.