Press Releases

More coherent economic plan needed so we can live — not simply exist” — alongside this virus

New Economics Foundation responds to the Chancellor's Job Support Scheme


Alfie Stirling Director of Research and Chief Economics at the New Economics Foundation, said:

It is hugely welcome to see that the government has extended economic protections through the winter to mirror the tightening of social distancing. But make no mistake, this is not a case of just in time”.

For months now, employers have been forced to price in’ rising contributions to employment costs for furloughed workers alongside an October cliff-edge. As a result, we have seen tens of thousands — if not hundreds of thousands — of redundancies already. Each one represents a potential family crisis that could and should have been avoided.

We now need a much more coherent economic plan to live — not simply exist” — alongside this virus for the months ahead. The new Job Support Scheme is a start, but encouraging employers to move workers onto part-time hours and pay is not enough. We need action on Universal Credit, cancellation of rent and mortgage arrears and a plan for funded training and income support for workers looking to reskill for the industries of the future. For a country that has already gone through more than a decade of cuts to pay and hours, at the same time as cuts to support for living costs, more of the same simply isn’t an option.”

Miatta Fahnbulleh, Chief Executive of the New Economics Foundation, said:

The job support scheme is the right move by the Chancellor. But by only providing a 22% wage subsidy for non-working hours the government is asking many people to take a painful hit to their income that many simply can’t afford.

We also needed a proper plan to create quality low-carbon jobs and reskill workers on shorter hours to take up these jobs. Without this, this policy is a sticking plaster on the painful transition to come.

The Chancellor was right to say that life is about more than just existing – but this plan will not support the many people struggling to exist in the most basic ways. If we are to avoid further unemployment and an income crisis for many families this winter, we need a better plan.

Today was a first step but the Government urgently needs to fix the holes in its plan.”

Contact

Sofie Jenkinson, sofie.​jenkinson@​neweconomics.​org, 07981023031

Notes to editors
New analysis from NEF shows that workers outside of London saw hours contract twice as fast as those in the capital during Covid-19 first wave: https://​newe​co​nom​ics​.org/​2​0​2​0​/​0​9​/​f​u​r​l​o​u​g​h​-​w​h​e​r​e​-​d​i​d​-​t​h​e​-​h​o​u​rs-go

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