Sunday shows: Scrap “one-size-fits-all” approach to economy, says Anneliese Dodds

Ridge on Sunday

Anneliese Dodds discussed the upcoming summer statement from the Chancellor and called on the government to abandon its “one-size-fits-all approach” to supporting the economy during the coronavirus crisis.

  • On the economic statement: “We really need to have that proper package put in place – not just so that we can help people if they become unemployed, but above all to prevent people becoming unemployed in the first place.”
  • On a sector-specific approach: “Let’s have an approach which reflects the fact this is an economic crisis which is affecting sectors differently. Different sectors really need that strong support now.”
  • She added: “If they adopt that one-size-fits-all approach to removing support… then we will see higher levels of unemployment.”
  • On the urgency: “Now is not the time to be looking into different measures. It’s the time to be putting them into place. And frankly our country is behind lots of others on this… They really need to be far speedier.”
  • Asked about NHS funding: “We could well see, very sadly, an additional wave of this disease… It’s really important that the NHS has that stability of funding so that it can plan towards that eventuality.”
  • On longer-term planning: “If we end up having to take measures at the last minute, that’s obviously very expensive in the short term and therefore we do need to see that sustainable funding.”
  • She added: “The government should be looking at, for example, expanding the flu vaccination programme to over 50s so that we can try and reduce that pressure on the NHS up to winter.”
  • Asked about the possibility of the government scrapping the triple lock on pensions: “This is a technical issue for government to sort out – it shouldn’t effect whether the triple lock applies.”
  • On the government’s claim that it doesn’t want a return to austerity: “Actually, local authorities are looking many of them at potentially having to shed a fifth of their staff… We shouldn’t pretend we’re in very different circumstances.”
  • On taxation: “I don’t think low and middle income people should be targeted for tax rises… Where there needs to be additional funds going into the system, they should be coming from those with the broadest shoulders.”
  • She added: “That debate would only arise at the stage if we need additional contributions… I’m hoping we won’t see the continued reduction in the size of our economy. Actually, it’s best if we can grow our way out of this.”
  • On schools remaining closed: “Obviously it’s bad for those children – but of course, I’m aware of the fact it means so many parents are not able to go back to work… It’s something government critically needs to get a grip on.”
  • On the decision to end Huawei’s involvement in the 5G network: “Government needs to have a proper strategy… We really don’t want to have policy made in this sort of lurching manner – we need to have a long-term strategy.”

Matt Hancock discussed the reopening of pubs and bars on Saturday, telling viewers that he was “pleased with what happened yesterday” and saying that people were “very largely social distancing”. Ahead of the economic statement from the Chancellor next week, the Health Secretary said that he wanted to “reward NHS staff for what they have done” – but refused to commit to a pay rise.

The Andrew Marr Show

Anneliese Dodds also appeared on Marr. She reiterated Labour’s call for taking a sectoral approach to extending the furlough scheme, would not confirm that Labour wants to nationalise the social care system, and commented on a wealth tax.

  • On extending the furlough scheme: “I don’t think it’s correct to be withdrawing support from that job protection scheme, nor indeed from the self employed scheme, at the same rate right across the economy… We need to have a more sectoral approach to this.”
  • Asked which sectors should have furlough extended beyond October: “I think where it’s possible for employers to demonstrate that it’s not feasible for them to be returning to full capacity, that there’s still the need for that support.”
  • On the cost of furlough: “It is expensive, that’s clear, but we also know that long-term unemployment is very expensive.”
  • On social care: “We need to have a system for social care that really is delivering that national service. We entered this crisis with 120,000 vacancies in social care.”
  • On Labour plans for a nationalised care system: “I would say, right now, the idea is just to protect that sector… I’m not going to say to you that Labour is going to be advocating some massive grand scheme right at this moment when social care is in crisis. We need a new approach for social care into the future.”
  • Pushed on whether Labour still supports nationalisation plans: “We certainly need to see much, much more responsibility from government for that sector, no question about that.”
  • On a wealth tax: “If we do need to see an increased tax take, we shouldn’t see it coming from those low and middle income people. Instead, we should have a focus on the very best off people…. I think those with the broadest shoulders should be bearing more of a contribution, if that contribution is needed.”
  • On whether Labour would back Huawei being stripped out of the UK’s 5G network: “I haven’t seen that [intelligence] evidence. I can’t take a judgment. But surely the government could have taken that earlier.”

Asked again about trade unions demanding a pay rise for health workers, Matt Hancock replied: “Well, of course I want to see people properly rewarded, absolutely.” But he did not commit to a pay rise.

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