Last week I spoke to the BBC, Sky, ITV, Channel 5, LBC, Talk Radio and Times Radio about challenges facing businesses and workers in our fantastic tourism industry. Many tourist towns and attractions face the double whammy of a shorter season and reduced capacity due to essential Covid-19 measures. Unemployment has risen by a very troubling 109%. But in areas where tourism forms 20% of the economy or more, unemployment has risen by a shocking 174%. With 9 million people on furlough, and the furlough scheme due to end in October for all sectors, and the claimant count already at 2.8 million, we have a perfect storm. If only a very small proportion of people currently on furlough face redundancy come autumn, we will see higher unemployment levels than ever before. The government must act now to make more effort to save every job in every sector. I also spoke to Talk Radio about NHS Pay.
It was also a pleasure to feature in an hour’s zoom conversation with Labour List, on many aspects of Labour’s welfare and work policies, as well as wider Labour Party politics. If you’ve completed Netflix during lockdown and run out of podcasts, you can watch or listen to the whole show here! Alternatively you can read some highlights of our conversation here.
I also spoke out once more on the raw deal for people on legacy benefits like Jobseeker’s Allowance. Employment and Support Allowance and Income Support, which predate Universal Credit. Labour has consistently called on the Government to uprate legacy benefits to match the welcome increase in Universal Credit. It cannot be right that those on legacy benefits will be worse off at a time when family finances are stretched to the limit. The Secretary of State’s response is woefully inadequate. Directing claimants to an online calculator rather than offering proper assistance is typical of a Government reluctant to take responsibility and slow to respond to this