Tuesday 6 October 2020 / 2:41 PM Anneliese Dodds / Economy

“Wall of silence” from Chancellor on support for areas under local restrictions

“Wall of silence” from Chancellor on support for areas under local restrictions

The Chancellor has ducked Labour calls to explain what he is doing to support businesses and communities in areas under Covid-19 restrictions.

Labour analysis released this week shows that nearly a million people are still on furlough in areas of the country subject to local restrictions or on the government watch list. Without an economic package to protect businesses and jobs, they face a jobs cliff edge when the furlough scheme ends in a few weeks’ time.

Yesterday the Chancellor did not even acknowledge the existence of additional restrictions covering 17 million people in the UK, in his speech to Conservative Party Conference.

Responding to Labour’s Urgent Question today, Chief Secretary to the Treasury Steven Barclay dodged questions on whether any plans were afoot to provide targeted financial support for areas under localised restrictions.

To date, government support to local areas has only ever come after restrictions have been imposed. When pressed today by Dodds to deliver support hand in hand with the imposition of new restrictions in the future, Barclay made no commitment.

Anneliese Dodds MP, Labour’s Shadow Chancellor, said:

“After the Chancellor blew another chance to get a grip on Britain’s job crisis yesterday, we forced him to come to the Commons to explain himself today – but instead he sent his deputy.

“Yet again we’ve been met with a wall of silence from a Chancellor who is leaving millions to sink or swim through one of the greatest challenges in our lifetime – especially the 17 million people living under additional restrictions.

“Britain faces an unemployment crisis the likes of which we haven’t seen in decades – and it has Rishi Sunak’s name all over it.”