Unions dismiss Boris Johnson’s ‘new deal’
Unions have largely dismissed the Boris Johnson’s ‘new deal’.
The Prime Minister yesterday promised a £5bn “new deal” to build homes and infrastructure, but
UNISON general secretary Dave Prentis said: “The pandemic has taken a massive toll on the economy and it’ll take a lot to get the country back on its feet.
“Investment in public services is the way forward. These moves are in the right direction but must be far bolder if they’re to do more than patch up the damage from a decade of cuts.
“The UK can’t build its way out of trouble while local authorities still have to shut local services like parks, libraries and children’s centres.
“The pandemic has made huge dents in council finances, and many are teetering on the edge. But their involvement will be key to every stage of any major project.
“The Covid outbreak has made everyone realise the value of public services. They’re at the heart of every community and must be protected and strengthened.”
Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said: “We welcome the prime minister’s promise to build our way back better than before. That’s a fine ambition but it has to be matched with the ambition and the investment which accompanied FDR’s new deal.
“Today, however, we appear to have only been promised FDR’s loose change and some second-hand spending plans. While the US got the Hoover dam, the pandemic-hit UK gets a re-announcement of repairs to some bridges in Sandwell.
“There is no doubt that this country’s frayed infrastructure needs investment, so we hope that there is much more to come from the prime minister.
“But this can only be part of the promise to the people of the country. The bald truth is that our country is staring at a jobs abyss which will open up this summer and swallow millions of working people. Averting that needs urgent and immediate investment to keep people in work now, with steady wages coming home now, not the promise of an infrastructure project sometime in the future.
“I urge the prime minister to confirm that very soon we will hear that his government will follow in the footsteps of France and Germany with a proper plan to save and grow jobs in the immediate term and on the scale so desperately needed.
“He should begin by announcing that the jobs retention scheme will be extended at least until 2021, as it has been in France and Germany, so that there is a bridge between today and the emerging economy he promises.
“Without that bridge, employers will shed jobs in huge numbers this summer and the trauma and havoc of this virus will give way to the trauma and enduring human misery of mass unemployment.”
GMB national secretary Jude Brimble said: “Five billion sounds like a lot – but in infrastructure terms it’s just a drop in the ocean. It wouldn’t even meet half the cost of filling in the potholes in England and Wales.
“To get our economy back on its feet we need a proper recovery plan based on sustained infrastructure spending targeted to create and keep good quality jobs.”
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