Shadow chancellor Anneliese Dodds has said Labour will be a party of fiscal responsibility under its new leadership, while setting out a three-point plan to protect UK businesses from the economic crisis.
Dodds used her speech at the virtual Labour conference to call out the government for being “cavalier” with public money, adding that she would “ensure that public money was always spent wisely”.
Dodds also called for more coronavirus support for businesses, including a kind of targeted extension of the furlough scheme for some sectors.
The party’s virtual 2020 conference began yesterday, with the tagline of “A New Leadership” in a bid by Sir Keir Starmer’s top team to distance itself from former party leader Jeremy Corbyn.
Dodds’ speech continued that trend as she emphasised the need for a closer relationship with businesses and more careful fiscal spending, while also offering to work with the government to help the country’s economic recovery.
“A responsible approach to the national finances,” Dodds said.
“Because you’re only as cavalier with public money as our current chancellor, if you don’t know the value of it.”
The shadow chancellor called for a “job recovery scheme” to replace the furlough scheme, due to end next month.
“[The scheme] would enable businesses in key sectors to bring staff back to work, on reduced hours, with government backing wages for the rest of the week,” she said.
“The scheme would incentivise targeted businesses to bring back more workers part-time, instead of bringing some back full time, and letting others go.”
Dodds also called for the government to bring forward £3bn earmarked for jobs training as a part of their proposal and for the government to set up a “a business rebuilding programme”.
Respondong to Dodds, chief secretary to the Treasury Steve Barclay said: “All Sir Keir Starmer and his team have to offer are the recycled economic plans of Jeremy Corbyn, which would hold our country back and hinder our recovery from coronavirus.”