Labour today (Sunday) unveiled the next aspect of its employment proposals, which the party says will secure the economy and bring to an end long-term unemployment.
These plans will include a new “Jobs Promise” for young people and the long-term unemployed that will help them into employment or training, as new estimates show the magnitude of the unemployment crisis facing the UK.
According to Labour analysis of data from the House of Commons Library, it is projected that over a million people will become long-term unemployed between 2021 and 2022, with one-third of a million 16-24 year olds unemployed for six months or longer in 2021 and 2022.
Shadow Jobs and Pensions Secretary Jonathan Reynolds said “we will build a wasted generation that will put Britain’s recovery at risk” if we do not take urgent action.
Reynolds argues that if the Labour Party were to win the next election, it will quickly start introducing new support for current jobs programmes to increase the amount of opportunities available by one million and help combat long-term unemployment.
The plan would:
• Create a ‘Jobs Promise’ giving 16-to-24 year olds a quality education, training or employment opportunity after six months of being out of work or not in education or training
• Guarantee that no one is involuntarily away from work or training for more than 12 months, to end the scourge of long-term unemployment
• Allow workers made redundant from furlough instant access to job finding support through a work coach without the need to claim social security
• Deliver the above by simplifying and bringing forward £4.5 billion of spending on failed Government programmes to provide immediate opportunities to help people into work
With regard to a target of developing an economy and improving Britain, the Labour Party also aims to assist in job growth around the country, which includes the creation of 400,000 green jobs, taking care of the 127,000 health and social care roles that are currently empty, and recruiting 43,000 new teachers.
A week ago, Labor leader Keir Starmer launched a campaign to help 100,000 small enterprises starting up.
In addition, Reynolds also calls on the government to correct its failed programmes. 300 jobs are being lost every day at the moment, but the Government’s flagship Kickstart has only created 2,000 jobs in six months.
Jonathan Reynolds MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, said: “These figures show that without immediate action the Conservatives risk creating another lost generation, scarred by unemployment.
“Throughout this crisis we’ve seen the Chancellor determined to remove support as quickly as possible, despite the fact restrictions mean large parts of the economy are still closed. His actions have cost jobs and businesses. Labour would take a different approach: building a secure economy that spreads prosperity across the country.
“Successive Conservative governments have weakened Britain’s foundations and robbed too many people of the opportunity to achieve their potential. Going back to business as usual is not an option.”
The news comes as Shadow Chancellor Anneliese Dodds failed to say if she believed that the £20 weekly uplift to Universal Credit should be made permanent.
Asked three times by the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show, Labour’s Shadow Chancellor said that the £20 boost should be maintained during the current Covid-19 pandemic.
She also argued that Universal Credit should be scrapped in its current and committed to ending the five-week wait for an initial payment.
“We’ve set out a range of different measures that we want to see in relation to Universal Credit,” she said.
“We also want to see for example the initial loan turned into a grant. We want to see the scrapping of the cap. And we want to make sure that families have the support that they need for the future.
“That’s why we said during this pandemic… that we needed to see that uplift maintained during the pandemic. But I’m not going to abandon our commitment to reform Universal Credit, because it’s needed.”
Dodds added: “People have got to wait for five weeks before they get that help. And that’s why we said to government some time ago be clear about that £20 uplift while we’re in this pandemic, actually get rid of that five-week wait as well.”
Commenting, SNP Westminster Leader Ian Blackford MP said: “It is completely unforgivable that the Labour Party is failing millions of the poorest people across the UK by sitting on the fence over Tory cuts to Universal Credit.
“The SNP strongly opposes a return to Tory austerity cuts. We are clear that the £20 uplift must be made permanent and extended to legacy benefits, as part of a wider package to tackle the growing Tory poverty crisis that has engulfed the UK.
“People will wonder what on earth is the point in the Labour Party if it won’t even oppose these devastating Tory austerity cuts, which would push millions into poverty and crisis.”