Labour's Lisa Nandy criticises the "great big gaping hole" in the Budget 2020

11 March 2020, 16:46 | Updated: 11 March 2020, 18:54

By Fiona Jones

Labour leader hopeful Lisa Nandy slammed the Conservatives' 2020 Budget and exposed its "great big gaping hole."

Labour leader hopeful and MP for Wigan Lisa Nandy said there were "a lot of problems in this Budget."

"We were promised £600 billion in investment for the Red Wall communities - by my reckoning this doesn't even add up to £100 billion," Ms Nandy said, and added that while good measures have been introduced on business rates and broadband, "it's nothing like the scale of investment that's been promised."

She said that the reason there was a lack of detail about what the government will spend money on is because they "simply don't know what sort of economic state the country is going to be in in a few months' time."

"By my reckoning, the amount of money that is being pledged adds up to about £63 billion rather than £600 billion so that's pretty short," Ms Nandy said.

The Chancellor's Budget had a "great big gaping hole" which was social care, she continued, and pointed out that Wigan, her own constituency, is one of many older communities in which people are more vulnerable to coronavirus.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak receives claps on his back after delivering the Budget
Chancellor Rishi Sunak receives claps on his back after delivering the Budget. Picture: PA

Shelagh pointed out the Chancellor pledged to give the NHS "whatever it needs" to combat the outbreak and this will surely dovetail with social care, however Ms Nandy found it concerning the words social care weren't even mentioned.

Ms Nandy said, "If people can't get help at home, they will go to hospital, if they go to hospital then we've got an even bigger health crisis."

However the Labour leader candidate commended the coronavirus short-term measures announced in the Budget, such as pledging to meet the costs for small businesses to provide statutory sick pay.

Shelagh clarified that Rishi Sunak seemed to be saying workers such as those on a zero-hour contract will have early access to benefits if they have to self-isolate, to which Ms Nandy responded that the devil is in the detail.

"We've got to make sure that there is actually protection for employees and that they aren't subject to disciplinary action or fired because they say they have to self-isolate," said Ms Nandy, reiterating from a comment yesterday that the government provide protection for sick people who are pressurised by companies to work during this time.

For the coronavirus in general she urged that the government follows the advice of the chief medical officers to prevent the UK from panicking unduly.