YESTERDAY, Tory Chancellor Rishi Sunak, speaking at the Tory Party conference, assured the party that his main objective is to get the debt under control.
‘We will protect the public finances, over the medium term getting our borrowing and debt back under control,’ he said, indicating the cuts and tax rises to come.
Signalling a huge rise in taxes he continued: ‘We have a sacred responsibility to future generations to leave the public finances strong, and through careful management of the economy, this Conservative government will always balance the books.’
He was launching the Tories’ Job Entry Targeted Support (JETS) scheme.
The Department for Work and Pensions says it is recruiting an additional 13,500 ‘work coaches’ to help deliver the new scheme, driving forward a programme of retraining, to put the unemployed to work.
This process will not actually produce a single job in a period where the Chancellor admits that hundreds of thousands of jobs are going to go.
Sunak claimed: ‘Our unprecedented support has protected millions of livelihoods and businesses since the start of the pandemic, but I’ve always been clear that we can’t save every job.
‘I’ve spoken about the damaging effects of being out of work, but through JETS we will provide fresh opportunities to those that have sadly lost their jobs, to ensure that nobody is left without hope.’
The TUC reacted to the Chancellor’s statement by demanding more government aid and refused to demand the nationalisation of industries that are going bust.
TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: ‘We are on the verge of an unemployment crisis. The Chancellor’s announcements are just a drop in the ocean.
‘Ministers must do much more to stop people losing their jobs. That means real help now for industries facing a tough winter, like aviation, retail and hospitality.
‘And ministers need to do far more to create good new jobs. TUC research shows that we could create 1.2 million new jobs in the next two years in green transport and infrastructure.
‘And people who lose their jobs must get the support they need to get back on their feet.
‘That means investing in a major retraining programme, support for the self-employed and urgently raising the rate of Universal Credit to stop people being plunged into poverty.’
Meanwhile, nearly one million people living in areas with additional Covid-19 restrictions face a ‘jobs cliff edge’ in a few weeks’ time said Labour, accusing the Tory Chancellor ‘of failing to support businesses and communities most at risk from a second wave.’
The government’s furlough scheme is due to expire at the end of the month. New analysis by Labour reveals that 490,000 people still on furlough are now living under localised restrictions and another 480,000 are living in towns or cities on the national watch list.
Thousands of people living in the North and Midlands now risk losing their jobs, including 43,000 people in Birmingham, 19,400 across Durham and 11,500 in Bolton.
Despite a rise in infections and huge swathes of the country being placed under further restrictions, Labour said the Chancellor had failed to deliver an economic package to protect businesses and jobs most at risk from a second wave.