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29 July, 2020 Open access

Select Committee calls on government to learn lessons from gaps in support to workers during coronavirus lockdown

Committee Chair expresses concern that problems with support, including for pregnant women, freelancers and agency workers, were raised repeatedly 'and yet these warnings continued to go unheeded'

The Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Select Committee has called on the government to learn lessons from gaps in support to workers during the coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown.

In a letter to Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Alok Sharma, Committee Chair Darren Jones sets out the findings of the Committee's inquiry into the impact of coronavirus on businesses and workers, including that -

Mr Jones said today -

'Given the evolving situation around COVID-19, it’s inevitable that issues would emerge concerning the effectiveness of the government’s support package and its impact on workers and businesses. However, it is also the case that the alarm over gaps in the government’s support, such as for women, and those affecting freelancers and agency workers, were being raised repeatedly by those affected and yet these warnings continued to go unheeded.

Rishi Sunak echoed a previous Chancellor in suggesting that the coronavirus has seen us all in it together. However, it’s clear that the reality of the economic lockdown is that its impact has not been shared out evenly and that it is falling very heavily on some parts of our economy. For example, we heard from sectors, including retail, the creative industries and manufacturing, who expressed concern over increasing redundancies in the wake of the furlough scheme changes coming in this weekend....

It’s important the government quickly learns the lessons of recent months so that they can act in future with more policy sophistication and transparency and be able to step up and deliver the most effective support possible to workers and businesses. If we face the prospect of a second-wave and the likelihood of increased local lock-downs, it’s essential the government looks again at its approach to sector support and to the additional measures which will be necessary to secure our economic recovery, help businesses prosper and enable workers to protect their livelihoods.'

For more information, see Chair calls on Government to learn lessons from gaps in worker and business support from parliament.uk