Wednesday 8 July 2020 1:37 pm

Labour: Chancellor has 'put off big decisions' in summer statement

Shadow chancellor Anneliese Dodds has accused Rishi Sunak of putting off many of the “big decisions” until the autumn.

Responding to the Chancellor’s statement Dodds said” “Today should have been the day when our government chose to build a bridge on what has been done so far and what needs to be done… we should have had a back to work budget”.

She also called on the government to be more flexible in its approach to the job retention scheme, and adopt a sector by sector focus.

Read more: Rishi Sunak unveils job retention bonus scheme worth up to £9bn

The Chancellor has announced a new “job retention bonus” scheme that will incentivise firms to bring back furloughed workers as the scheme winds down in October.

He said employers who bring back someone who was furloughed until January will be paid a £1,000 bonus per employee.

Dodds questioned how the government would ensure the bonus would not go to firms who were already planning to bring back furloughed employees. She also asked what the Chancellor will do for the companies unable to operate even with the bonus.

The shadow chancellor called on Sunak “to abandon his one-size-fits-all approach to withdrawing the job retention and self-employed schemes”, adding that the money spent on furlough must not serve “merely to postpone unemployment.”

Read more: Sunak slashes VAT on hospitality and tourism to five per cent

Labour did welcome Sunak’s cut to VAT, from 20 per cent to five per cent announced today, as well as vouchers for hospitality to boost the economy.

Concluding her speech, Dodds said the government cannot escape responsibility from the crisis and urged ministers to “finally sort out test track and isolate, to prevent additional unnecessary unemployment and to build the green jobs of the future.”

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