Anneliese Dodds asks Urgent Question on economic support available to individuals and businesses during lockdown
“Labour’s circuit breaker would have been more effective and shorter, so less damaging to jobs and businesses, than the government’s last-minute but lengthy lockdown.
“The cost of Conservative delay will be counted in lives and livelihoods.
“So was it the Chancellor who vetoed the circuit breaker?
“Why did he tell the Welsh Government it was impossible to extend furlough?
“And why did he dismiss those in the North who said his plans would lead to hardship?
“I heard from a restaurant in the North West, about the strain of his panicked, last-minute approach. As rumours of a lockdown circulated, staff wiped away tears before putting on a brave face to customers. They did not know whether they would be working as normal the following week, face redundancy, be paid at 67%, or be paid at 73%.
“Similarly, the self-employed have endured intransigence and then rumours, before a last-minute announcement yesterday – which still leaves many people with nothing.
“Businesses need to know what support they will receive if their area faces further restrictions the other side of lockdown. Yesterday the prime minister said they won’t find out until just before those restrictions are imposed.
“How can any business plan on that basis? How can people cope with that level of insecurity?
“Will the Chancellor, finally, get a grip and set out a plan for the next six months?
“Will he set out how the different scenarios facing us will be dealt with- not retrospectively, not at the last minute, not once businesses have gone bust and jobs have been lost- but in advance?
“And will he set out a plan for support if the lockdown is extended, or if parts of the country remain under restrictions afterwards?
“Or will I continue having to drag him here, week after week, as his government stumbles from one crisis to the next?”