Chancellor's budget still won't protect against mass unemployment in the South West

8 Jul 2020 03:24 PM

Commenting on the Chancellor’s budget released today, Nigel Costley, TUC regional secretary of the South West said: 

On jobs

“The West Country needed to hear a bigger and better plan for new jobs with real prospects from the Chancellor – not just stop-gap work experience that finishes in six months.

“The best way out of this crisis and to avoid long-term economic downfall, is to create jobs through more new public investment in new homes, childcare, faster broadband, better transport and green tech”

“Young peopIe rightly need support to get into good jobs as they will suffer most from this crisis. But low paid apprenticeships or unpaid work experience doesn’t avoid the very real risk to their futures. 

“And while the Kickstart programme for young people is welcome, private companies in the South West will struggle to provide sufficient opportunities. The Scheme will therefore require direct public sector opportunities to make good on the promises to young people.

“The government should also have done more to stem the rising tide of redundancies. Our region is in the midst of big announcements in aviation, aerospace, manufacturing, hospitality, culture and more. We simply can’t afford to lose any more good jobs.

“We’d hoped to hear of targeted support for the hardest-hit sectors like manufacturing and aviation. Struggling businesses will need more than a one-off job retention bonus to survive and save jobs in the long-term.

On the public sector

“We also heard nothing to support the lowest paid, most under-valued workers in our communities – such as care and health workers.  And just this week the prime minister blamed care industries for the spread of the virus, when it was actually the very care homes who ignored government advice and closed earlier that saved lives.

“The government should have announced extra investment in jobs across all public services – starting with filling the 200,000 vacancies in the NHS and social care. And if the chancellor really wants to save jobs in our tourism and hospitality industries, he should have announced a pay rise for hard-pressed key workers rather than an “Orange Wednesdays’ voucher equivalent for the few that can afford to eat out.”

On a low-carbon, green recovery for the South West

“The South West could be leaders of the new green economy, with the region poised to pilot exciting new technologies as well as ramping up low carbon efforts. The energy-saving grants for homes just doesn’t cut it. 

“And once again, regions have been left to go whistle for investment from central government rather than be allowed the opportunity to build back a better recovery for our communities.”

“The biggest threat the South West and the country now faces is mass unemployment.

"A third of workers in the region are at risk of losing their job. Only the government can stop this.

"Unfortunately we didn’t get that today.”

Earlier this week, the TUC South West published “A better recovery for the South West” that laid out how the region could revive and build back a better South West – with investment in job-creating new infrastructures and green technology at the heart of it. 

The report also lays out the threat regions and local authorities face with job losses with rural and coastal communities the hardest hit.

Click here for the full press release