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Gordon Brown says the government has to focus on economic recovery now to ensure 1 million young people are not ‘lost’ to unemployment

Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown has called on the government to focus on economic recovery now to ensure one million young people are not lost to unemployment.

Appearing on Good Morning Britain, Mr Brown was asked if we could see a turbocharged rebound of the economy in the future, given that a lot of people have been at home not spending.

He responded: “There will be a bounce back and it will mean that people will spend some of the money that they have been holding back but the problem that the Bank of England identified a few days ago is that 70% of people are still worried about the future and will not put their savings out there until they are absolutely sure that their job is secure, that the company they are working for is going to stay in business and that there is a real return to economic growth in the long term and not just for a few weeks."

"I think the Chancellor has done well when he did the initial work to have the rescue operation, I don’t think he has done so well on planning the recovery. As I found when I was Prime Minister, you have got to be two steps ahead. You can’t be behind the curve, you have got to be ahead of it," he added.

During his appearance on the show, Mr Brown also discussed whether Shamima Begum should have been allowed to return to the UK.

Speaking to Piers and Susanna, Mr Brown said: "I think the issue is here, do you change the law for one person? And I don’t think you can. I appreciate some of the very strong feelings that people have… I think we have got to go through all the processes of law but I wouldn’t want to be the Prime Minister who changes the law for one person."

Piers responded: "You mean we are making an exception for her that we shouldn’t be making?"

Mr Brown answered: "Yes, I don’t think you can make an exception. I think. All this has got to go properly through the courts and all this has got to go properly through the judicial system. I think if a Prime Minister or a Home Secretary steps in, in this respect then I think you are trying to change the law for one person. I think that is not the right thing to do."

Mr Brown also discussed the upcoming Budget this week and the new Covid-19 variant, saying: "I think we have got a plan for getting the country out of lockdown but I don’t think we have got an economic plan... We have had a marvellous success with vaccination… but you cannot give up on test, tracking and trace. We have seen this in the last day with what has happened with the Brazilian variant. I am very surprised that this test happened about three weeks ago and this is the first time we are talking about tracing the person who actually has not been found and put his form in in the wrong way."

"I have got some questions to ask about the quarantine and whether it is effective. I also know that we are brilliant at genetic sequencing… but it seems to take a lot of time and I think it has got to be speeded up. You have got to have some of these machines in different parts of the country and you have got to have a better tracking system. So it is very strange that if someone came back into the country three weeks ago and they have this variant, and only now when they could have spread it quite widely are we looking at where they are going to be," he continued.

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