The UK has had the hardest 2020. We have the worst covid death rate in Europe and saw our economy shrink 20%, the worst of the G7. Our country and its key workers deserved good news in the Spending Review but instead the Chancellor has cut pay for many of those who helped fight covid, including care workers, police officers and the schools who stayed open for the children of key workers.
- The 2019 Tory manifesto has been torn to shreds after less than a year in office. It promised:- to reform social care, but key workers who looked after older and disabled people during the covid crisis have been let down again with a pay freeze and delays to the overhaul required;
- to deliver the ‘easiest’ and ‘oven-ready’ deal with the EU which we are still waiting for;
- to sustain our aid budget which has been slashed by £4 billion leaving other countries unable to manage disease or conflict which will now reach our shores;
- to end homelessness, but the Government have refused to fund the ‘Everyone In’ programme to get all rough sleepers into accommodation and are spending less in 2020 on winter shelters despite covid than they did in 2019; and
- to protect free TV licenses for older people, which have now been scrapped.
Anyone who expected Boris Johnson to keep his promises is probably feeling foolish, but the damage of his measures will affect us all. Labour offers an alternative that helps strengthen our economy. Investing in capital spending to boost the economy and develop green alternatives and jobs; ensuring key workers are rewarded for their efforts and keep spending locally; a housebuilding programme to match the housing crisis we now see; and better protection for more working people affected by covid to prevent the catastrophic job losses the Government now predicts.
The Government claimed austerity was over and the Chancellor assured the public that there would be an end to low pay. Today they revealed their true colours and betrayed people again. They clapped key workers on their doorsteps but stabbed them in the back with a Spending Review that fails most of those who have done so much to fight covid this year. Johnson’s Government’s plans are a huge let down after a very tough year and it is clear they have no interest in building back better – just more of the same.