Empowering the Freelance Economy

Full Employment Alliance formed as Wales prepares for lockdown; Gordon Brown calls for ‘wage subsidy, not ‘£13-a-day token payment’

Source: Official site of Gordon and Sarah Brown
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An Alliance for Full Employment, encompassing all regions and nations of the United Kingdom, has been formed to fight for nationwide economic recovery policies that claims can prevent rapidly-rising redundancies and unemployment. 

The Alliance has been formed as local and national governments across the UK prepare for localised lockdowns. A two-week circuit-breaker lockdown is to be introduced in Wales from next week, according to a leaked letter. The lockdown will begin at 6pm on Oct 23 and last until Nov 9, and will see all but essential retail outlets close. An official decision is to be announced today.

The Alliance is led by the Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford, metro mayors Andy Burnham of Greater Manchester, Steve Rotheram of Liverpool City Region, Jamie Driscoll of North Tyne Combined Authority, Dan Jarvis of Sheffield City Region, Sadiq Khan of London and Marvin Rees of Bristol.

Among the measures that they are focused on are a fully-funded youth guarantee of jobs training or employment that goes beyond the six-month offer of just 25 hours a week to cover only 250,000 of the 3.5million under 25s not in full-time education  

The former Prime Minister Gordon Brown, who is working with the mayors and Welsh leader, calls for all national institutions to focus on job creation including the Bank of England, which he says should target low unemployment. 

“Young people are now facing the worst of times yet the Government’s Kickstartyouth employment programme will assist only 250,000 of 3.5million under-25s not in full-time education and only for six months. So we need to reintroduce the more generous Future Jobs programme of 2009,” said Gordon Brown in a statement.

Maintain furlough payments

“Preventing unnecessary bankruptcies and unemployment this winter will lead to a stronger and more lasting recovery later. I would maintain furlough payments in key sectors vital to our economy, if necessary supporting part-time work.

“Where a local lockdown occurs and workers are forced to stay at home, I would offer a wage subsidy and not the current £13-a-day token payment,” he suggested.

Brown wants all UK institutions to make high levels of employment a greater priority: “Having been the Chancellor responsible for the Bank of England Act 22 years ago, I am disappointed that while obligations for employment are included in its statutory objectives, the Bank of England does not place greater emphasis on maximising employment.” 

The Bank should announce an operational target,  said Brown, with interest rates not rising or an end to a stimulus until employment returns to its pre-crisis levels.

“We should agree a new constitution for the Bank imposing a dual mandate: to take unemployment as seriously as inflation.” 

“Austerity wrong policy”

“In truth, austerity – which was always the wrong policy – now makes even less economic sense in 2020,” stated Brown. “When interest rates have seen record inflation and the interest rate falls, our first priority cannot be fiscal retrenchment when the needs in our communities are so great and when the cost of borrowing for investment in our long-term future is so low.”

Steve Rotheram, Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, said: “The Coronavirus has presented us with a series of massive economic challenges, chief amongst them being a looming crisis in unemployment as the furlough scheme draws to a close next month.”

He continued: “Without continued support from national government, some sectors – and the many thousands of jobs reliant on them – will struggle to survive. Mass unemployment is no foundation for economic recovery. Instead we should be focussing on creating and sustaining jobs, while investing in the skills and infrastructure we need to drive job creation in the industries of the future.”

Alliance’s collated figures found as of 22 September:

  • 15,000 people chasing 10 assembly operative jobs in Birmingham
  • 4,228 applicants for a trainee paralegal legal position in  London – 
  • 1000 people applied to be a receptionist at a restaurant in London 
  • 2154 applicants for an Administrator in Coventry  
  • 2653 applicants for an Assembly Operative position in Sunderland 
  • 2,932 applications to be warehouse worker in Northumberland  
  • 1,656 applicants to be an NHS 111 Call Handler, London

Referencing this research Mr Brown, said: “You’re almost as likely to win the National Lottery as this jobs lottery,”  describing them, “as the worst odds against finding a job for fifty years.”

“This is not ‘the levelling up’ that we were promised. It is unemployment up. Poverty Up. Deprivation Up. Homelessness Up, ” said Brown.  

The Freelance Informer truly hopes that HMRC and the government carefully make policies that consider the long-term implications on the self-employed economy by not taking any unjust tax grabs. Rome wasn’t built in a day, we understand that, we just want to ensure the people skilled to build it are still in business in 2021.

Please like, join and share the #getrealhmrc campaign on your social media to fellow self-employed friends, family and colleagues. To ensure you get the latest on the conversation sign up here.

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