Ogmore MP Chris Elmore is calling on the UK Government to take swift action to prevent regional inequalities across the UK becoming entrenched as a result of their one-size-fits-all approach to financial support in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
Labour Party analysis of official data shows that areas with a high proportion of workers in struggling sectors, such as aviation, retail and manufacturing, will be hardest hit by the financial impact of the virus.
Wales has the second highest proportion of the population employed in retail, a sector that has struggled and has seen big names, including Marks & Spencer, Debenhams, and John Lewis announce significant job cuts in recent months.
Chris Elmore MP said:
“The blanket furlough scheme was necessary at the height of the pandemic and during the lockdown, but now the economy is opening up again and some sectors are bouncing back while others are languishing. It is now the time for targeted support for those sectors that continue to struggle.”
The UK Government’s furlough scheme supported around 10 million workers during the height of the pandemic but is due to end in October. The Labour Party is calling for a staggered withdrawal of the scheme in order to support the businesses that will not bounce back as quickly as others.
“This UK Government speaks regularly about ‘levelling up’ but I do sometimes wonder if they understand what that means. You cannot level up the country by treating everyone exactly the same. Inequality will only become more entrenched as people with differing means attempt to recover from the pandemic.
“We need targeted support, aimed at the industries and communities who need the most help to give everyone the best chance at recovering from this pandemic and prospering in a new, levelled up UK.”