James O'Brien's instant reaction to Chancellor Rishi Sunak's 'winter economy plan'

24 September 2020, 12:38 | Updated: 24 September 2020, 12:52

EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

After the Chancellor Rishi Sunak stood in the House of Commons and set out his plans to protect jobs this was James O'Brien's instant reaction.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak warned the resurgence of coronavirus posed a threat to the "fragile economic recovery".

Reacting to the Commons statement James said there was "nothing at all for the three million" who had not recieved any support during the preceding months of lockdown.

James labelled this "a crushing blow."

He said another early takeaway was that "if you can't reopen for business, if you're not able to return for business in any recognisable sense, it's kind of game over for you I think."

The Chancellor said he will explain the next phase of the Government's economic response to coronavirus.

He told MPs in the Commons: "Earlier this week the Prime Minister set out the next stage of the Government's health response to coronavirus. Today, I want to explain the next phase of our planned economic response.

"The House will be reassured to know I have been developing plans to protect jobs and the economy over the winter period.

"Plans that seek to strike the finely judged balance between managing the virus and protecting the jobs and livelihoods of millions."

Rishi Sunak also announced that the temporary reduction of VAT rates from 20% to 5% will remain in place until 31 March 2021.

Mr Sunak's intervention comes after increasing pressure from business groups, MPs and unions to extend the furlough scheme amid fears the new restrictions will damage the economy.

Number 11 said work on the scheme had been taking place in parallel with Budget preparations with a focus on jobs to avoid the expected three million unemployed.