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11 January, 2021 Open access

Labour leader calls on government to put families first by providing further financial support during current lockdown

Leader’s first speech of 2021 recommends ‘new approach’ that includes suspension of council tax rises, stopping cuts to universal credit and extending the ban on evictions and repossessions

The Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer has called on the government to provide further financial support for families during the current lockdown.

In his first speech of 2021 today, Sir Keir warns that we are at a critical moment in tackling Covid-19, where the first priority is to get Britain vaccinated and that, until then, the government must take action to secure the economy to protect family incomes and support businesses.

To that end, Sir Keir says that key policy changes are needed to 'put families first' -

'By backing local councils to prevent council tax rises; stopping any cut to universal credit; extending the ban on evictions and repossessions and giving our key workers the pay rise they deserve.

I know this isn’t everything that’s needed and that after so much suffering we can’t go back to business as usual - to an economy where over half of our care workers earn less than the living wage, where childcare is amongst the most expensive in Europe, where our social care system is a national disgrace and where over 4 million children grow up in poverty. But taking these steps now would make a real difference to millions of people across the country.’

In addition, the Labour leader calls for greater support for working parents from the furlough scheme -

'By creating a legal, enforceable and immediate right for parents to request paid flexible furlough and by promoting that to all working parents to help them get through this lockdown ...'

- and for the self-employed from the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme -

'... to close the huge gaps in support for the self-employed, because if we’re to rebuild our economy, we need the dynamism and creativity of everyone. To have excluded three million self-employed people last March was unfair. To do it again in the autumn added insult to injury. To continue now into the new lockdown, is totally unforgivable.'

For more information, see Keir Starmer’s speech on securing the economy for families during lockdown from labour.org.uk