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Labour sets Rishi Sunak four tests for next week’s coronavirus crisis Budget

Labour will tomorrow urge Chancellor Rishi Sunak to ditch his plan to axe the coronavirus furlough programme.

In her first major speech since being appointed three months ago, Shadow Chancellor Anneliese Dodds will warn the Government against abandoning the Job Retention Scheme, which is due to be phased out over the autumn.

She is due to say: “As with the lifting of lockdown, what we have now is an exit without a strategy.

“Government must abandon its one-size-fits-all wind-down of the job protection and self-employed schemes.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak will deliver a mini-Budget on Wednesday

“We need a targeted strategy that acknowledges that workers in struggling sectors cannot and should not be treated the same way as workers in sectors that are already back to full capacity.”

Commons Leader Jacob Rees-Mogg today told MPs 9.3 million workers had been put on furlough, costing taxpayers £25.5billion as the Government pays 80% of workers’ salaries up to £2,500 a month.

Some 2.6 million self-employed people being supported, costing £7.7bn.

In September, companies’ contributions will rise to 10%, climbing to 20% in October.

The Government will cover 70% of wages up to £2,190 in September, with employers to pay National Insurance and pension contributions and 10% of wages.

The following month, the Treasury will pick up 60% of wages to a £1,875 limit, with employers paying tax contributions and 20% of wages.

But experts fear that once Government support is phased out, firms will begin to make mass redundancies.

Ms Dodds had her temperature taken before she visited a construction site last month

Companies including Airbus, railway station catering firm SSP and airline EasyJet have announced job losses in recent days.

Mr Sunak is preparing to deliver a mini-Budget on Wednesday setting out the Conservatives’ latest plans for tackling the economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Urging the Government to press on with the furlough scheme for parts of the economy, Ms Dodds will say: “This is not about ‘picking winners’, in the Chancellor’s words – it is about protecting those who have lost through no fault of their own.

“It is about giving people across the country a fair chance.

“The reward for months of sacrifice cannot be a redundancy notice.

“This week we saw a wave of companies announcing enormous job losses, because the government is refusing to shift from its one-size-fits-all approach.”

The Chancellor’s ‘Summer Economic Statement’ should “recognise the scale of the challenge we face” by committing to a “back to Work Budget focused on jobs, jobs, jobs”, she will say.

Ms Dodds will set her opposite number four tests for his statement: a focus on creating, supporting and protecting jobs; that it triggers a bounce-back effect across the country; that every project announced is carbon neutral or carbon cutting; and that ministers commit to not raise taxes or slash support for low and middle-income people, during the recovery period.

She will warn: “We need guarantees of delivery, not just warm words.”




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