The Labour Party in Northern Ireland (LPNI) welcomes the formation of the Alliance for Full Employment and gives it our support in pressurising the Government to make jobs a priority.
The biggest issue for the next few years following COVID-19 will be massive unemployment. This is likely to hit Northern Ireland severely, with alarming forecasts of over 100,000 unemployed and youth unemployment reaching crisis levels.
The Alliance is a UK-wide body which has brought together the leaders of Scottish and Welsh Labour, the Labour mayors of Liverpool, Bristol, London, Manchester, Newcastle and Sheffield in support of economic recovery policies and the promotion of good jobs for the future.
October 31 is the cliff-edge day for employment. The furlough scheme, which has helped millions of workers during COVID, will disappear. Thousands of businesses face the prospect of bankruptcy as their crisis loans are called in while the economy remains in recession. We need a targeted extension of the furlough scheme to cover tourism, hospitality, the creative arts, child care and the aerospace industries, if necessary supporting part-time work. Businesses with a viable future should not have to lay off staff.
The stay-at-home payments of £13 per day for locked out workers are grossly inadequate. We need wage subsidies paid for by Government. And we need an increase in Universal Credit payments for those who lose their jobs. The ‘kick start’ plan for youth unemployment which offers job placement for 16-24 year-olds is also grossly inadequate and only lasts for six months.
We call on all trade unions and businesses and the Stormont Executive to unite to put pressure on the Tory Government to maximise public investment in infrastructure, the Green economy and education and training (including apprenticeships). The current low interest regime must be used and maintained to fund this.
There must be no return to austerity.
Spokesperson: Boyd Black 07715045985