Llanelli Member of the Senedd Lee Waters and MP Nia Griffith have been stressing the importance of building the economy of the future in their respective parliaments and are calling for the UK Government to have an emergency Back to Work budget focussing on jobs and livelihoods.
Analysis of new labour market data from the ONS shows the scale of the economic challenge facing Llanelli, as claimants for Universal Credit and other unemployment benefits in Wales more than doubled to almost 122,000. These figures show a severely strained jobs market and an urgent need for a Back to Work Budget.
The UK Government has reportedly postponed its next full budget until autumn, raising concerns a slow and muddled health response is now being followed by a slow and muddled response to saving jobs.
Meanwhile, figures released by the UK Government show 1 in 5 of the workforce (316,500) are furloughed in Wales whilst another 102,000 of the workforce are using the Self-employed Income Support Scheme.
Vacancies also fell by 60% across the UK between February and May, with steeper falls in some sectors. This includes:
- 80% fall in construction, employing 5.1% of workers in Wales
- 94% and 70% falls in motor trades and retail, employing around 12.9% of workers in Wales
- 94% fall in accommodation and food services, employing 8.7% of workers in Wales
- 85% in arts, entertainment and recreation, employing 2.1% of workers in Wales
Llanelli MP, NIA GRIFFITH said:
“Only last week I joined other MPs in talks with UK Steel and Tata Steel bosses and whether we are looking at steel or wider manufacturing, it’s clear that the economy needs a real boost to get going again. With the country on the brink of recession before the COVID19 pandemic, the UK Government must stimulate growth – that’s why Labour is calling on the Chancellor to deliver a bold Back to Work budget.
“We need growth in the economy – both short -term by bringing forward infrastructure projects and stimulating demand, as the Labour Government did with the car scrappage scheme after the 2007 financial crisis and then longer term investing in the jobs of the future. The government must also ensure the vital support provided by the Job Retention Scheme and Self Employed Income Support Scheme are not withdrawn too soon, and that any withdrawal is tailored to the specific needs of firms and sectors in Wales.”
Llanelli MS, LEE WATERS added:
“These figures show the UK Government cannot afford to delay its next full budget until after the summer and must urgently bring forward a Back to Work Budget to protect jobs and livelihoods in Llanelli.”
“In Welsh Government, we have been recognising that while some industries are well placed to pick up after lockdown, it can’t just be business as usual for all sectors, and that we need to be looking to invest in the jobs of the future. So, for example, if the ambition is to move over to electric vehicles, then we in Wales need to be part of that development and supply chain. That means not just vision and support from Welsh Government, but genuine leadership and coordination from UK Government.”