Yesterday the Chancellor announced a new last minute package of economic support. This is his third major economic announcement in under a month – his original Winter Economic Plan has not even survived to the winter.
It is right the Government is making changes to its support schemes but these were all problems highlighted nearly a month ago by the Shadow Chancellor, Anneliese Dodds. Importantly, there are still many gaps in the Government’s support and there’s still nothing for the forgotten freelancers. It is unacceptable that the Government are expecting workers to live off only 66% of their wage.
This week the Government also voted against Labour's motion to extend free school meals over October half-term and the winter holidays. In Hackney, one-in-two children live in poverty after accommodation costs are taken into account. Importantly these figures reflect the situation before the pandemic hit. Free school meals are a vital resource in ensuring children have access to regular, nutritious, healthy food. No family should be left hungry as a result of this Government’s incompetent handling of the pandemic. I will continue working with my frontbench Labour colleagues to press the Government to reverse this decision.
And this week the Public Accounts Committee challenged Government officials over the complete failure of the Starter Homes Programme. In 2015 the Government set aside £2.3 billion to build discounted homes for first-time buyers. The total number of homes built were zero. See here to watch the hearing.
Finally COVID-19 cases are continuing to rise at a concerning rate. It is vital we all continue to follow the public health guidance. See here for the latest COVID-19 data for Hackney, and see here for the latest Government guidance.