Eddie Mair challenges Treasury Select Committee Chair on Sunak's new job scheme

24 September 2020, 18:16 | Updated: 24 September 2020, 18:35

By Fiona Jones

Eddie Mair asked the Chair of the Treasury Select Committee Mel Stride scrutinising questions about Rishi Sunak's new Job Support Scheme.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has set out the details of his winter economic plan in a Downing Street press conference, most notably the Job Support Scheme which will replace furlough from 31 October.

This scheme will "support only viable jobs" and not jobs that continue to exist because the Government is subsidising the wages - this has been clarified as jobs where staff can work at least 33 per cent of their normal hours.

Eddie questioned the Chair why the Chancellor has made a major spending announcement without saying where the money is coming from.

Mr Stride responded that in normal times these figures would all go through the Office for Budget Responsibility: "We're not in normal times and the Government's having to react as circumstances change very quickly."

Eddie acknowledged that many people have praised Rishi Sunak's winter economy plans but some people have "fallen through the cracks", such as those that work in the events industry which is in "dire straits" and has not had help.

Read more: Chancellor Rishi Sunak's job support scheme - everything you need to know

Eddie Mair questions Treasury Select Committee Chair on Sunak's new job scheme which was detailed today
Eddie Mair questions Treasury Select Committee Chair on Sunak's new job scheme which was detailed today. Picture: LBC/PA

"There are a number of areas in the economy that are suffering and there's no doubt that there's been a disproportionate effect across the economy on different sectors," MP for Central Devon Mr Stride said.

"The way the Job Support Scheme is going to work is to support those that stay with businesses on reduced hours and that will naturally target that support to those companies that has jobs that are going to be sustainable in the medium and the longer term.

"Unfortunately, of course, there are businesses in the economy...who are just not going to survive unfortunately. And those businesses probably will not take up this scheme as they will know at the management level the future is not good."

Eddie further asked what people in the events industry are "supposed to do" to which Mr Stride suggested taking out loans, such as soft loans, and loans that only need interest repayments, while getting wage support from the Government.

"The Chancellor has always said right from the beginning that unfortunately he's not going to be able to protect every job," Mr Stride said.

Eddie countered that events is a whole sector which might be "screwed" to which Mr Stride responded that these are all questions that the Committee will be looking at while examining Mr Sunak's plan.