Gordon Brown - Chancellor Rishi Sunak needs to 'come back with a better budget'

Following Chancellor Rishi Sunak's Winter Economy Plan announcement, former Prime Minister Gordon Brown has said Mr Sunak needs to "come back with a better budget for jobs."

Speaking in response to the Chancellor’s latest plans, Mr Brown told Ben Shephard and Kate Garraway: "I wanted to welcome the Chancellor’s announcement but I feel this morning for millions of families who are going to be worried about what is undoubtedly going to be mounting unemployment and next year a wave of business bankruptcies... there was nothing in his message yesterday for the 1.5m now unemployed and the 1m on Universal Credit looking for a job, for almost 1m young people who are outside education but don’t have a job."

"Then he did something for part-time work, but he’s only paying 22% of the wages. It’ll be cheaper for an employer to keep one full-time person than two part-time people on," he added.

Suggesting that Mr Sunak should have a "summit" with those who are more in the know when it comes to employment, Mr Brown said: "I think he’s got to reconsider this. I think he needs to have a summit of all those who know more about this and that’s the mayors around the regions, that’s the unions and the business community and I think he needs to come back with a better budget for jobs, and I suspect he knows himself this morning he’s going to have to change his measures."

Asked if we can afford a better budget he said: "Look at the cost if you have three million or more unemployed."

He added: "Other countries are doing twice as much in Britain in this recovery phase. America’s considering doing four times as much as Britain. This is a one in a century event and we’ve got to take the extraordinary measures. We spend now to save later. I think you’ve got to think of the future… He’s got to invest now, to save later."

 "We should be testing millions of people not thousands of people. We’ve got to identify the disease and the carriers of it earlier. If we could do that then business would have more confidence," Mr Brown continued.

"Unemployment is not inevitable, it’s the decisions that we make to do something about it. Let’s listen to what people are saying about what jobs could be created, jobs that are struggling that need more loans to keep going… and at the same time we have to get these young people into work."

Speaking of Boris Johnson and Nicola Sturgeon’s dealing of the Covid crisis, he said: “There are lessons to be learned, they should be learning them together.”