Category Archives: Labour Party – Latest

Government’s quarantine measures a mess – Jim McMahon

Jim McMahon MP, Labour’s Shadow Transport Secretary, commenting on the published list of countries exempt from quarantine rules, said:

“Labour – like families and businesses up and down the country – are keen for the government’s quarantine measures to be lessened, but this a mess.

“First we had the quarantine that they were slow to implement, then they said they’d do air bridges. Now we see a plan to let residents of 60 or more countries into England without any reciprocal arrangements.

“The fact they have been unable to negotiate air bridges is an indictment of their failure to tackle the crisis at home. They were too slow to take lockdown, too slow to order PPE and too slow to protect our country.”

Labour supports calls for an immediate commitment to pay talks for NHS workers

Speaking at a virtual NHS rally this afternoon, Labour Leader Keir Starmer will say:

“This weekend we celebrate the anniversary of our National Health Service and the incredible staff who make our NHS what it is: our nation’s proudest achievement, and our greatest asset.

“In recent months, NHS staff have served selflessly on the frontline against Covid-19. For every life tragically lost, many more have been saved by the actions of our NHS heroes.

“That’s why Labour supports those calling on the Government today to make an immediate commitment to pay talks for NHS workers.

“We know that valuing our NHS workforce, through fair pay and conditions, is crucial to tackling the many vacancies across the NHS.

“And we urge the Government to agree this deal as soon as possible, in recognition of the bravery and sacrifice shown by our healthcare heroes during this crisis.

“We cannot clap our carers for weeks, then fail to back it up with meaningful action. We must show our NHS staff the same commitment they have shown our country in its hour of need.”

Generational divide on living conditions – Cat Smith

Cat Smith, Shadow Minister for Young People, in response to the Resolution Foundation Report on the generational divide on living conditions, said:

“This generational divide is only going to worsen with the Government’s continued radio silence on what it will do for young people.

“The high proportion of young people from Black, Asian, and minority ethnic households unable to access outdoor space highlights wider inequalities laid bare by the Covid-19 crisis.

“This report shows how important it is for a proper government plan that puts young people at the heart of post-pandemic recovery plans.”

Career disruption to young workers – Cat Smith

Cat Smith MP, Shadow Minster for Young People, in reaction to the new IFS report on career disruption to young workers caused by COVID-19, said:

“Young people have been ignored by the Government since long before the coronavirus crisis. After a decade of austerity, young people are facing surging housing prices, stagnating wages, and rising student debt. And the Coronavirus Crisis will only compound and exaggerate these issues.

“Many young people find jobs in the hospitality and retail sectors. The Government must use next week to introduce a Back to Work Budget which preserves those jobs, creates new jobs and provides job guarantees for young people to prevent long term unemployment.”

Shadow Chancellor calls for ‘Back to Work Budget’ in first major speech

In her first major speech as Shadow Chancellor, Anneliese Dodds MP will tomorrow (Friday 3 July) call on the government to “recognise the scale of the challenge we face” by committing to a “Back to Work Budget focused on jobs, jobs, jobs”.

As well as setting out four tests the Chancellor’s ‘Summer Economic Statement’ must meet to deliver for Britain, she will call on the government to extend furlough schemes in areas that are forced into local lockdowns, “so that localised second waves don’t wash away businesses and jobs in their wake”.

Ms Dodds’ four tests for the recovery are:

  • A focus on creating, supporting and protecting jobs
  • That it produces a bounce-back effect across the country
  • That every project announced is carbon neutral or carbon reducing
  • That the government commits, at the very least, to not increase taxes or cut support for low and middle-income people, during the recovery period

Highlighting the government’s record of over-promising and under-delivering on investment over the last decade, Ms Dodds will say: “We need guarantees of delivery, not just warm words. For 10 years, the Conservatives have talked and talked: they have not built.”

And she will also criticise the Chancellor for taking a ‘wait and see’ approach to supporting the economy, when action is needed now to prevent an unemployment crisis. The Shadow Chancellor will say “the reward for months of sacrifice cannot be a redundancy notice”.

The Chancellor has also been reported to be reluctant to support individual areas of the economy because he doesn’t want to ‘pick winners.’ The Shadow Chancellor will pour scorn on the Chancellor’s belief that “helping a local pub or family-run restaurant that has been boarded up at the direction of government is somehow cheating the natural order of things”.

On supporting businesses:

“It has been heartbreaking to hear from many of them [small business owners] in recent weeks, how they feel their businesses slipping through their fingers because of a temporary lack of cashflow even though with the right, targeted support now, they would be perfectly viable in the long term.

“That frustration, that anger, at working hard all your life, playing by the rules, doing the right thing, waiting your place patiently in the queue, only to find it snatched away from you by a combination of this terrible crisis and government’s refusal to help. That isn’t about ‘picking winners’. That’s basic fairness.”

On the government’s ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach to ending support schemes:

“As with the lifting of lockdown, what we have now is an exit without a strategy.  Government must abandon its one-size-fits-all wind-down of the Job Protection and self-employed schemes.

“We need a targeted strategy that acknowledges that workers in struggling sectors cannot and should not be treated the same way as workers in sectors that are already back to full capacity. This is not about ‘picking winners’, in the Chancellor’s words. It is about protecting those who have lost – through no fault of their own. It is about giving people across the country a fair chance. The reward for months of sacrifice cannot be a redundancy notice.

“This week we saw a wave of companies announcing enormous job losses – because the government is refusing to shift from its one-size-fits-all approach. To avoid the same flood of redundancy notices for workers within smaller companies later on this month, government must act now – and abandon its one-size-fits-all approach.”

Steve Reed responds to the Government funding package for councils

Steve Reed MP, Labour’s Shadow Communities and Local Government Secretary, responding to the Government funding package for councils, said:

“Many councils are on the brink of bankruptcy because of the costs of tackling Covid-19, so any help is welcome. But if the Government breaks its promise to fund the costs in full, councils will be forced to cut back services like social care, youth activities and bin collections, and closed libraries and leisure centres might never reopen.

“This funding is a start, but we don’t know how it will be shared out and much of the detail is being held back until the autumn which might be too late to save many frontline workers’ jobs that are now at risk.

“We urge the Government to stick to its promise to support councils to do what’s necessary to get communities through this. Councils have kept their part of the bargain, now the Government must do the same rather than punish local communities with cuts to the services they rely on.”

Many waiting longer than 24 hours for coronavirus test results – Madders

Justin Madders MP, Labour’s Shadow Health Minister, responding to figures that show many are waiting longer than 24 hours for coronavirus test results, said:

“We are now three weeks into the supposed world leading test and trace system and there are still a quarter of people not being contacted. There is no doubt that this is well below the levels we need to effectively contain the virus and the Government seems to be too slow again to react to these failings.

“As we now begin to see localised lockdowns we need Ministers to be far more rigorous about getting to the bottom of why the contact rate isn’t improving. The performance so far simply isn’t good enough and far from the world leading system we were promised.

“We know for there to be an effective testing and tracing system to be in place that results need to be back quickly so it’s both disappointing and concerning that the Government is moving the goalposts on its 24 hour turnaround for tests . Ministers need to come clean about the problems meeting this target and what they are going to do to put it right. The Government has been too slow on lockdown, too slow on PPE, too slow on social care – we cannot afford for it to be too slow on this as well.”

Government needs to say clearly what businesses need to do – Louise Haigh

Louise Haigh, Shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, commenting on news that HMRC documents show firms in Britain will need to complete three types of electronic paperwork, said:

“Ministers wasted eight months insisting these checks would never be needed. Businesses are still in the dark and the new system to manage these checks doesn’t yet exist.

“The Government needs to say clearly what businesses need to do, what proportion of goods will face physical checks and how they are going to help Northern Irish businesses weather these new costs.

“This level of incompetence would be irresponsible at any time but, right now, it is completely reckless. Jobs have already been lost and their cavalier approach risks costing many more.”

BBC regional cuts – Chris Matheson responds

Chris Matheson MP, Labour’s Shadow Minister for Media, responding to the announcement on BBC regional cuts, said:

“While not unexpected, these cuts are still very damaging and unwelcome. Regional news is among the most trusted with some of the highest viewing and listening figures.

“Regional investigative journalism, such as Inside Out, have been ground breaking over the last two decades and served a need that cannot be met nationally.

“Although some of these cuts have are caused by the Covid-19 pandemic affecting production, the root cause remains the government’s decision to slash BBC funding. We’ve seen £800 million lost so far in this charter period, not to mention the Tories’ broken promise on the over-75s’ free TV licence, where the cost of £250 million was passed to the BBC.

“Ministers need to take responsibility and stop hiding behind the BBC management – the government caused these cuts, they should stand up and be counted.”