Monday 23 November 2020 / 6:20 AM Anneliese Dodds / Economy

Shadow Chancellor calls for “responsible choices” at Spending Review to deliver opportunity and security to every part of Britain

Labour’s Shadow Chancellor Anneliese Dodds MP will call this Wednesday’s Spending Review “the moment to make responsible choices” to deliver a better, more secure future for every part of Britain.

In a speech to Reuters later today (Monday 23rd November), Dodds will argue that Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s “irresponsible choices and unacceptable delays” have damaged the economy and set the country back. The Shadow Chancellor will also criticise reported plans for a public sector pay freeze, warning that it would threaten Britain’s economic recovery.

 

Contrasting the Chancellor’s wasteful, last-minute decision-making to the responsible choices Labour would take to protect jobs, Dodds will outline the steps the government should take at this Spending Review:

  • Recover jobs – By bringing forward £30bn in capital spending over the next 18 months and investing it in the clean industries of the future right across the UK.
  • Retrain workers – With an emergency programme for those who have lost their jobs to gain the skills they need for the future.
  • Rebuild business – With a new National Investment Bank and action to give businesses much-needed clarity on how the country will emerge from lockdown.

 

Under Sunak’s tenure at the Treasury, the UK has suffered the worst downturn in the G7 group of nations. Redundancies reached a record high in the last quarter and over a million people have lost their jobs since the crisis began. The Chancellor ridiculed Labour’s calls for a short, effective circuit breaker as a “blunt instrument”. The UK is now in a longer, more painful lockdown as a result.

 

Dodds will challenge the Chancellor to learn from his mistakes by making responsible choices on Wednesday. She will demand:

  • Opportunities on people’s doorsteps not the other end of the country – With high-quality businesses in every town and well-paid and secure jobs so that people don’t just survive but thrive.
  • Action to make every part of Britain feel like a good place to live – With genuinely affordable homes, decent services, high streets that people want to visit and high-quality safe green spaces for everyone.

 

On the need to make the UK the best country to grow up in and the best to grow old in, Dodds will say:

“People right across our country should feel safe and secure where they live – settled and part of a community. Not insecure and just about clinging on.

“Labour would make responsible choices to protect our key workers, secure the economy and recover jobs in every part of the country.”

 

On the Chancellor’s record, Dodds is expected to say:

“The British people deserve a responsible approach from their Chancellor.

“A Chancellor who will use public money wisely to support resilient public services. Who will treat our front line workers decently, rather than grinding them down. Who will protect delivery drivers and shop assistants from poverty pay instead of throwing them into it.

“A Chancellor who acts responsibly, so our families and communities can have a more secure future.”

 

On reports the Chancellor will freeze pay for key workers, Dodds will say:

“Freezing the pay of firefighters, hospital porters and teaching assistants will make them worried about making ends meet ahead of Christmas – that means they’ll cut back on spending and our economy won’t recover as quickly.

“The British people shouldn’t have to pay the price for a government that doesn’t know the value of public money, splurging it on outsourced contracts to Tory-linked firms that don’t deliver.

“And they shouldn’t have to pay for a Chancellor who’s had to come back week in week out to change his plans, blocked a circuit breaker leading to a longer, more painful lockdown, and still hasn’t acted to fix Britain’s broken safety net.

“The Chancellor’s irresponsible choices and unacceptable delays are damaging the economy. That’s why we’re in the grip of a jobs crisis – and it’s got Rishi Sunak’s name all over it.”