A new alliance, headed by former Prime Minister Gordon Brown, is calling for urgent action on job retention and creation.
Former Labour PM Gordon Brown is launching a national campaign urging a range of measures to prevent the Covid-19 fallout triggering mass unemployment.
The Alliance for Full Employment, which is backed by the Labour mayors of London, Manchester, Liverpool, Sheffield, Newcastle and Bristol, Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford and Scottish Labour leaders, is calling for the Bank of England to be required to act to maximise employment, for the launch of apprenticeships and youth training youth with a guarantee of jobs training or employment, for the extension of the furlough scheme and for the government to take stakes in struggling but otherwise viable companies to keep them afloat.
Brown has called for the continuation of the furlough scheme in key sectors, with support for part-time options. The TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady has also said that the UK risks a return to the mass unemployment of the 1980s unless the government acts to protect jobs when the furlough scheme expires at the end of October. However, the Bank of England’s chief economist has stated that an extension of the scheme will delay an “inevitable” shake-out of businesses hit by the Covid-19 pandemic. Brown says the Bank of England is failing to place sufficient emphasis on jobs when making policy decisions.
In a joint statement announcing the new employment project, Drakeford and the five Labour mayors said: “The biggest economic issue of our times is high levels of unemployment.
“Recognising the need for working together – locally, regionally and nationally – to deal with the current jobs emergency and the need for good employment that is well-paid and fulfilling, we want to work with colleagues in every region and nation of the UK.
“We want to support an Alliance for Full Employment to mobilise all the resources of the United Kingdom to end the recession and create good, quality jobs.”