Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown warns of 'tsunami of unemployment' after lockdown

Gordon Brown (Pic: Scott Louden)Gordon Brown (Pic: Scott Louden)
Gordon Brown (Pic: Scott Louden)
‘Fundamental’ flaws in Chancellor’s COVID plan leaves 500,000 facing the dole

Former Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, has warned of a “tsunami of unemployment” and business bankruptcies - unless the Chancellor delivers new economic lifelines.

Mr Brown has urged Rushi Sunak to call a UK-wide jobs summit to “fix the fundamental flaws in his COVID recovery plan.”

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If he doesn’t, said Mr Brown, he risks leaving half a million young people without a job or a future.

Mr Brown, former MP for Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath, will address a Communication Workers Union conference today (Monday).

He said: “Facing a winter of massive job losses, rapidly-mounting unemployment and a wave of businesses bankruptcies, the Chancellor must go back to the drawing board, call a jobs summit to understand the despair in communities and rewrite his winter plan by fixing its fundamental flaws. “

He said last week’s package didn’t help 1.5m people currently unemployed, or those on Universal Credit and the self-employed excluded from the furlough scheme.

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He added: “Shamefully, there was nothing additional to the inadequate Kickstart scheme for young people, 500,000 of whom will likely end up on the streets or isolated at home, and becoming this century's lost generation.”

Mr Brown warned: “It is becoming clear the majority of the four million furloughed will be unlikely to benefit from the ‘part-time’ wage subsidy –now that the government’s contributions drops from 80 per cent in March to 22 per cent from November and workers have to accept a 22 per cent pay cut.

"Millions of workers need far more help if they are to get jobs or stay in jobs.”

Mr Brown has helped to form the new UK-wide Alliance for Full Employment which wants a UK summit to examine a new jobs plan.

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Mr Brown will tell the conference: “If just one or two of us come together we might achieve little but when 1500 councillors - led by the metro mayors of Bristol, Manchester, Newcastle, Sheffield, Liverpool city region and London come together - with unions, employers and leaders in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, all demanding a new recovery plan, just think of the effective, popular pressure we can create and the real change we can achieve.”

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