Gordon Brown calls for jobs summit to avoid 'Covid generation' of unemployment

28 September 2020, 00:01 | Updated: 7 June 2023, 08:56

Gordon Brown said there were 'fundamental flaws' in the jobs support plans
Gordon Brown said there were 'fundamental flaws' in the jobs support plans. Picture: PA
Rachael Kennedy

By Rachael Kennedy

Gordon Brown is calling on the government to hold a UK-wide jobs summit to avoid a "Covid generation" of unemployed young people.

The former prime minister has said the pandemic is threatening the possibility of 500,000 young people being unemployed as he criticised "fundamental flaws" in the chancellor's latest job support plans.

Speaking at a Communication Workers Union conference on Monday, Mr Brown will advise the government "reboot" its plan and for Chancellor Rishi Sunak to "go back to the drawing board".

He will add: "But 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.

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Mr Brown will then say the new job support scheme will offer "nothing" for the 1.5 million already unemployed, and the 900,000 people currently on Universal Credit - and whom may soon be registered as unemployed.

There is also "nothing new" for the 3 million excluded from the furlough scheme under self-employment, he will say.

"And, shamefully, nothing additional to the inadequate Kickstart scheme for young people, 500,000 of whom will likely end up on the streets or isolated at home, falling through the net in 'breadline Britain' with absolutely nothing to do and becoming this century's lost generation.

"Nor was there anything new for the struggling town centres and high streets to speed up much-needed infrastructure investment or to expedite a job-creating Green New Deal."

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Announcing his new UK-wide Alliance For Full Employment, Mr Brown will warn conference delegates of the approaching "tsunami" of jobless citizens and bankruptcies.

The alliance, he will note, will call for a summit of national and regional leaders, including metro mayors and business and unions, to examine a new jobs plan.

"We must bring all parts of the country - nations and regions - together to demand action to save and create two million jobs," he will tell the conference.