Unite’s Len McCluskey on chancellor’s summer statement

Reacting to the chancellor Rishi Sunak's financial statement, Unite General Secretary, Len McCluskey, said: “No gimmicks, no spin – people wanted serious action today to protect their jobs and incomes and on a scale up to the enormous test before our country. 

“Redundancy notices are already flying around like confetti, so today was the day we needed the chancellor to put a stop to this with policies as bold and as necessary as the Job Retention Scheme (JRS).

“This statement failed that test. With no modification to the JRS, that dreaded October cliff-edge for businesses and workers has now been set in stone. Our fear is that the summer jobs loss tsunami we have been pleading with the government to avoid will now surely only gather pace.

“This was a statement by a chancellor preparing for mass unemployment because he knows that his promised new jobs are a long way off.

“The jobs retention bonus barely touches the sides of what needs to be done to support our strategic industries, which are looking enviously across the Channel at governments giving up to two years’ support to help businesses and workers get back on their feet. 

“Where was the long-term and creative approach urgently needed to protect the jobs of Britain’s workers - such as short-time working - while we build back demand?

“A cut in stamp duty may well please the better off with little to fear from this crisis, but it is of no use to the tens of thousands of workers who have lost their jobs in recent weeks and the millions more we fear could follow them.

“The task of rebuilding our way out of this crisis should have begun in earnest today.  Working people should have been able to breathe more easily, knowing that their government was determined to stand beside them, protecting their jobs. This did not happen. Today could well prove to be a bleak day for Britain’s workers.”