Last week saw the launch of the Alliance for Full Employment, a campaign which brings together trade unions, businesses and leading politicians from throughout the country to call on the government to do more to reboot the economy and protect UK jobs.
One of the immediate concerns of the Alliance is that the government is not providing adequate support for areas under local lockdown and not ensuring incomes for people who are having to self-isolate. It is argued that as well as creating financial worries for many, this also allows for the virus to spread as people often have to turn to work outside of their home in order to provide enough money for themselves and their families.
The Alliance for Full Employment is backed by Sheffield City Region Mayor Dan Jarvis as well as the mayors of London, Manchester, Liverpool, Newcastle, and Bristol, plus former Prime Minister Gordon Brown and the Welsh First Minister and Scottish Labour leaders.
Trade unions are preparing to launch a list of demands, which include: a legal obligation on the Bank of England to promote jobs; launching apprenticeships and genuine youth training; extending the furlough scheme; and taking public stakes to save struggling but otherwise viable companies.
Sheffield Labour Councillors have added their voices to their calls and argued for greater support for workers and businesses.
Councillor Mazher Iqbal, on behalf of Sheffield Labour Councillors:
“Sheffield communities are facing an unprecedented jobs crisis, and it is incredible that at this most precarious of times the Tory government and set to withdraw the furlough scheme in its entirety.
“We need a financial support system that targets industries worst hit by the pandemic, supports any areas under local lockdown restrictions, and ensures incomes for people who are forced to self-isolate.
“Throughout the pandemic Labour have called for a clear roadmap for recovery – with a tailored economic approach to fit local needs and the particular issues affecting each industry.
“Instead the government has a ‘one-size fits all’ approach and are withdrawing the furlough scheme without a sufficiently robust Universal Credit package in its place. Without the right financial support many people could be left with the impossible choice of not earning or breaking isolation rules.
“Simply put, the government are risking the health of workers and their families by refusing to protect their livelihoods. This is why we have joined forces with organisations from throughout the country, including many other local authorities, in calling for the government to make yet another U-turn and scrap the blanket withdrawal of furlough in order to save jobs, and to save lives”