Whatever it takes

Unions and Labour politicians demand greater support for workers ahead of chancellor’s economic update

Reading time: 7 min

Ahead of chancellor Rishi Sunak’s latest economic update on Thursday (October 22), a number of trade unions, including Unite, alongside several Labour MPs, councillors and mayors such as Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham, have teamed up to make fresh demands amid a second wave of Covid-19.

In their joint statement, the signatories have demanded that the government truly do ‘whatever it takes’ as they have promised and offer to a provide “a comprehensive financial package of support to protect jobs and incomes, in the way France, Germany, Spain and others are doing”. This should include an extension of the furlough scheme covering 80 per cent of people’s wages for those who cannot work under Tier-3 restrictions.

Statutory Sick Pay (SSP), which in the UK is among the lowest levels in Europe, must also urgently be increased to help people self-isolate and so stop the continued spread of coronavirus virus which has ravaged parts of the UK amid the second wave of the pandemic.

The unions and politicians have also called for more funding for public services.

The joint statement comes just as a Labour motion, calling for a ‘fair deal’ for those living under tier 3 lockdowns – including 80 per cent wage subsidy support – was defeated by a majority of 79 votes last night (Wednesday 21).

Two Tory MPs broke ranks and voted with Labour – Bolton West’s Chris Green and Hazel Grove’s William Wragg – who both represent constituencies in the Greater Manchester area.

The motion was put forward after the government imposed Tier-3 restrictions on Manchester on Tuesday (October 20) after talks with Manchester mayor Andy Burnham and other city leaders broke down.

In her opening statement during last night’s debate, Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner said, “This is not just about Greater Manchester. This is about all of us. We will not be picked off one by one. Offered the crumbs when we helped bake the loaf. We deserve a fair slice.”

She continued, “We are starting down the barrel of a bleak winter because the government has lost control of the virus. Infections are rising. Hospital admissions are rising. Deaths, tragically, are rising.

“The testing system is collapsed. People and businesses across the country will be anxious that they will not be able to make ends meet and put food on the table. Our motion today will ensure a fair, national deal for the country.”

Below is full text of the joint statement from unions and Labour politicians and full list of signatories:

This government’s handling of the pandemic has been disastrous for people’s lives and their livelihoods. We have the highest death rate in Europe and it continues to grow. We are sliding into the deepest recession in history with mass unemployment, poverty and the widespread destruction of our communities threatened.

The government said at the start of the crisis that they would do ‘whatever it takes’. Instead, by failing to provide support for businesses, jobs and incomes, they are denying people the help they desperately need.

Ministers must urgently provide a comprehensive financial package of support to protect jobs and incomes, in the way France, Germany, Spain and others are doing, including an extension of the job retention scheme with 80% wage support, action to support incomes, helping people to self-isolate by increasing the level for statutory sick pay and enabling all to claim it, and equipping our public services with the resources they need.

Sadiq Khan, mayor, London

Andy Burnham, metro mayor, Greater Manchester

Steve Rotheram, metro mayor, Liverpool

Jamie Driscoll, metro mayor, North of Tyne

Marvin Rees, mayor, Bristol

Len McCluskey, general secretary, Unite the Union

Paddy Lillis, general secretary, USDAW

Dave Ward, general secretary, CWU

John Phillips, general secretary, GMB

Mick Whelan, general secretary, ASLEF

Matt Wrack, general secretary, FBU

Manuel Cortes, general secretary, TSSA

Roy Rickhuss, general secretary, Community

Kevin Courtney, joint general secretary, NEU

Michelle Stanistreet, general secretary, NUJ

Faiza Shaheen, director, CLASS

Miatta Fahnbulleh, chief executive, NEF

Jeremy Corbyn MP

John McDonnell MP

Dan Carden MP

Zarah Sultana MP

Andrew Gwynne MP

Diane Abbott MP

Jon Trickett MP

Apsana Begum MP

Bell Ribeiro-Addy MP

Sarah Owen MP

Paula Barker MP

Olivia Blake MP

Nav Mishra MP

Nadia Whittome MP

Mohammed Yasin MP

Margaret Greenwood MP

Rebecca Long-Bailey MP

Mary Foy MP

Ian Byrne MP

Kim Johnson MP

Richard Burgon MP

Kate Osborne MP

Ian Lavery MP

Ian Mearns MP

Grahame Morris MP

Mick Whitley MP

Jon Cruddas MP

Claudia Webbe MP

Rachel Hopkins MP

Beth Winter MP

Clive Lewis MP

Sarah Champion MP

Rosie Cooper MP

Tracy Brabin MP

Paula Barker MP

George Howarth MP

John Spellar MP

Virendra Sharma MP

Jack Dromey MP

Jessie Joe Jacobs, Labour candidate for Tees Valley mayor

Jennie Formby

Baroness Christine Blower

Cllr Andy Western, Leader, Trafford

Cllr Peter Lamb, Leader, Crawley

Cllr Elaine Murray, Leader, Dumfries and Galloway

Cllr Matt Dent, Southend-on-Sea

Cllr Noordad Aziz, Hyndburn

Cllr Ruth Bennett, Liverpool

Cllr Salma Mumtaz, Nottingham

Cllr Silvana Kelleher, Lewisham

Cllr Nina Killen, Sefton

Cllr John Vickers, Wigan

Cllr Maureen Worby, Barking and Dagenham

Cllr Rachel Massey, Rochdale

Cllr Mike Kearns, Knowsley

Cllr Margaret Mullae, Barking and Dagenham

Cllr Majid Mahmood, Birmingham

Cllr Archie Dryburgh, Dumfries and Galloway

Cllr Peter Bradbury, Cardiff

Cllr Christine Martin, Cannock Chase

Cllr Mike Roberts, Rushmoor

Cllr Tony Concepcion, Liverpool

Cllr Melvyn Worth, Cumbria

Cllr Paul Peacock, Newark and Sherwood

Cllr Rob Fail, Wyre

Cllr Bev Craig, Manchester

Cllr Sarah Doyle, Liverpool

Cllr Sean Halsall, Sefton

Cllr Danny Gee, Chorley

Cllr Gary O’Donnell, Leicester

Cllr Ibrahim Dogus, Lambeth

Cllr Stan Hill, Halton

Cllr Christine Roberts, Wigan

Cllr Carla McQueen, Cambridge

Cllr Nazia Rehman, Wigan

Cllr Marina Asvachin, Devon

Cllr Danny Myers, York

Cllr Ben Clay, Manchester

Cllr Paul Cummins, Sefton

Cllr Yousuf Motala, Lancashire

Cllr Sue Waddington, Leicester

Cllr Mark Blake, Haringey

Cllr Lily Bath, Hounslow

Cllr Peter Davis, Oldham

Cllr Maureen Bateson, Blackburn

Cllr Lorraine Beavers, Lancashire

Cllr David Meller, Stockport

Cllr Martin Donaghy, Bolton

Cllr Peter Smith, Crawley

Cllr Lesley Walton, Swansea

Cllr Neil Gethin, Doncaster

Cllr Michael Hood, Gateshead

Cllr Harry Howard, Halton

Cllr Michael McPake, North Lanarkshire

Cllr Brian Smedley, Sedgemoor

Cllr Ian Wingfield, Southwark

Cllr Gary Hewson, Lincoln

Cllr David Hughes, Doncaster

Cllr Rob Vernon, Cheshire East

Cllr Jill Lovecy, Manchester

Cllr Francesco De Molfetta, Lancashire

Cllr Kevin Richard, South Derbyshire

Cllr Des Thomas, Swansea

Cllr Aisling Gallagher, Lewisham

Cllr Eddy Newman, Manchester

Cllr Pavlos Kotsonis, Nottingham

Cllr Stephen Homer, Tameside

Cllr Surinder Singh Purewal, Hounslow

Cllr Alistair Chisholm, Newcastle

Cllr Michelle Gregory, Hackney

Cllr Samantha Charles, Malvern Hills

Cllr Hassan Ahmed, Nottingham

Cllr John Edwards, Sandwell

Cllr Mike McCusker, Salford

By Hajera Blagg

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