"The Chancellor may come to regret parts of his Summer Statement"
8 July 2020, 20:38
Shadow Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury Wes Streeting explained to Iain Dale why he thinks the Chancellor will "come to regret" aspects of his Summer Statement.
Speaking in the Commons on Wednesday, Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a list of measures to get businesses and workers back on track after the coronavirus lockdown.
Reviewing the Summer Statement Wes Streeting told LBC that what the Chancellor did today was welcome on a number of levels but "we'd hope that the Chancellor would put more flexibility in place on things like the Job Retention Scheme."
"On that really key issue of making sure we see people through the crisis, that we keep them in jobs wherever possible, this wasn't so much a plan for jobs as a plan for some jobs. I think the Chancellor may come to regret that in terms of employment figures," Labour MP Mr Streeting said, calling for a sector by sector approach.
He told Iain he is not expecting the Chancellor to save every job, "but I think there are lots of viable businesses who with just a bit of flexibility and a bit more time will be able to come back on the other side of this crisis and rebuild. I think what the Chancellor announced today didn't go far enough."
The Labour MP told Iain he expected the Chancellor to mention the "forgotten workers", self-employed and employed, who have fallen through the cracks.
"What the Chancellor's got to weigh up is the long-term impact of people becoming unemployed. It's bad for them and their families, it's bad for their communities and the local economy, and it's bad for the economy," Mr Streeting said, "we're facing a level of structural unemployment that we haven't seen for decades."
Mr Streeting welcomed the Kickstart scheme which will help 16-24 year olds get into employment: "He obviously understands that this is a long term risk for the country."
However, he told Iain that the Eat out to help out scheme does not seem particularly impactful: "I don't think offering people a tenner off Pizza Express on a Tuesday night is going to see the hospitality sector through this.
"It's obviously welcome but when you look at some of the proposals that were out there from think tanks like the Resolution Foundation and others, I don't think the Chancellor was as ambitious today as he could have been."