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UK News

Reaction to Government's summer statement

by Cara Bentley

The Government has announced how they plan to rebuild the UK economy, with employment being the main aim and source of criticism. 

On Wednesday, the Chancellor Rishi Sunak said the Government will award every employer who brings back a furloughed member of staff with a £1,000 bonus. It will pay the wages of 16-24 year olds for six months if it is a newly created job and will put more funding into careers advice services. 

The Government also aims to create jobs in the green sector by helping people pay for projects such as home insulation and hopes to keep people in work in the hospitality sector by encouraging people to go out for meals in August and reducing the VAT on tourism, entertainment, restaurants and accommodation to five per cent. 

The leader of the Labour Party, Sir Keir Starmer said the Government is right to act but that it needs a more targeted approach, saying: "Our concern is that the action they've taken isn't focused on the right places. So, the Job Retention Bonus is a bonus for all jobs and many of those jobs, many of those people, would have been brought back in any event. Some are really at risk of losing their jobs so we say it should be targeted in the areas that most need it."

The Institute for Fiscal Studies has said higher taxes will be inevitable due to the cost spent on preventing redundancies and money given to try to help different industries stay afloat and turn a profit again. 

HMRC (responsible for the collection of taxes) boss Jim Harra has revealed that he is not sure the meal vouchers are good value for money and cannot be certain about the effectiveness of the Job Retention Bonus Scheme. 

Speaking to Premier, policy advisor at the Joint Public Issues Team, an interdenominational Christian policy charity, said long-term solutions that prioritise stability are needed for proper economic recovery: "The idea that somebody can be employed for a few hours a week one week and then phoned up and then employed for 40 hours the next, only to find out on the Friday that it's three hours a week after - that's not how people should be living that wasn't good before Covid. 

"So [we need] something that changes our economy such that people have a secure income that they know they can live off. That's what we've got to aim for as we move forward."

Listen to more of what Paul Morrison from JPIT said here:

Many of the policies were also aimed at young people, such as encouraging firms to run traineeships and employ 16-24-year-olds. 

CEO of the YMCA, David Bridson, told Premier he was impressed by the announcements and said many of the policies for specific sectors will indirectly help young people as well. 

He said: "A lot of young people work in hospitality, they work in the gig economy industries and have been put on furlough because they work in bars and restaurants. So, the future didn't look too optimistic for them. We've seen some big high street retailers turn around and say 'we might have to make job losses' and we know that young people are the first to be cut in those instances. 

"We really welcome this focus on the younger elements of this and making sure that you don't give up on the skills, training and opportunities to get back into work. We've got 700,000 people leaving school this year and actually the opportunities for those people look quite bleak. So, at least now we've got some opportunities on the horizon where we can make sure that young people still have a chance at a career."

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