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Tue, 4 August 2020

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Thousands more manufacturers planning job cuts after Rishi Sunak's summer statement, Labour claims

Thousands more manufacturers planning job cuts after Rishi Sunak's summer statement, Labour claims

Sir Keir Starmer and Chi Onwurah on a visit to Milton Keynes (Credit: PA)

3 min read

Thousands more manufacturers are planning job cuts in the wake of Rishi Sunak's summer statement, Labour has claimed, accusing the Chancellor of failing to protect the industry.

Data analysis by the party suggests 16,000 more businesses are expecting to make redundancies than before Mr Sunak set out his coronavirus finance roadmap earlier this month.

A survey by Make UK, which represents manufacturers across the country, found 53% reported job cut plans in the period after the statement, up from 41.2% at the end of June and from 25% at the end of May.

Set against the Inter-Departmental Business Register, the list of businesses used by the Government for statistical purposes, Labour has estimated the number of firms which will be unable to keep on all their staff.

Speaking on a visit to Milton Keynes robitics company Starship Technologies, leader Sir Keir Starmer said: The threat to manufacturing jobs is another example of the government poorly targeting support, leaving thousands of jobs and even whole industries exposed."

The party has called on the Government  to extend its job retention scheme to allow industries hardest hit by the pandemic to continue to furlough staff.

Make UK has also said the scheme should be extended for “key strategic sectors” if “we are to mitigate the worst impact of potential job losses".

Sir Keir added: “We want the government to get this right. We are a week out from the winding down of the furlough scheme –the government needs to urgently abandon its one-size-fits-all approach and target support where it most needed.

“The UK is home to world-leading, innovative companies which will be crucial to helping our economy recover. But hard-hit sectors like manufacturing need more targeted support to stem the tide of job losses and protect people’s livelihoods.”

'BREAD AND BUTTER'

The Chancellor announced back in May that the furlough scheme would gradually be withdrawn, with businesses picking up 20% of the bill for its workers on leave by October.

But this week, Parliament's finance watchdog accused ministers of failing to consider in advance how to deal with the economic impact of a disease outbreak.

“Pandemic planning is the bread and butter of government risk planning, but we learn it was treated solely as a health issue, with no planning for the economic impacts,” said Meg Hillier, chair of the Public Accounts Committee.

Meanwhile, the Treasury select committee accused Mr Sunak of turning his back on people who have been excluded from government support for four months.

In a report published in June, the committee said more than a million people had fallen through the gaps of the Government’s coronavirus support programmes and called on ministers to reconsider.

But the Chancellor defended his decision to phase out the furlough scheme, and said his focus was now on generating and protecting jobs.

“The [schemes] were the right policies for the first phase of the crisis, but now, in this new phase, we need to look forward and evolve our approach,” he said.

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Coronavirus Economy
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