WATCH: PM’s economic recovery plan is “pathetic”, says Labour

Elliot Chappell

Jim McMahon has declared that the economic recovery plan outlined by the Prime Minister is “pathetic”, and said that the government has “fallen short” in its ambition.

In an interview with Sky News this morning, the Shadow Transport Secretary discussed the speech made yesterday by Boris Johnson and said that the £5bn plan amounts to a “drop in the ocean”.

He said that the Prime Minister is “waving the flag and hoping it all turns out OK, instead of having a clear plan about how we’re going to get the country back up and running, how we’re going to create decent well-payed secure jobs of the future”.

In another interview with BBC News this morning, McMahon called for the furlough scheme to be extended into next year, saying that “it’s far more sensible that those jobs are protected”.

He said: “It would be ridiculous, wouldn’t it, to spend billions of pounds on a furlough scheme – that’s meant to be a job retention scheme – for staff who the government know will be made redundant very shortly.”

The Prime Minister struck an optimistic tone in a speech yesterday morning despite the announcement yesterday of a lockdown in Leicester, which has seen a sharp increase in the number of coronavirus cases in the past two weeks.

Johnson announced a plan that he said “sounds like a prodigious amount of government intervention. It sounds like a New Deal”. He added: “That is how it is meant to sound and to be, because that is what the times demand.”

Labour leader Keir Starmer warned that the “new deal” was insufficient and said that the plan must match the scale of the crisis. He stated: “There’s not much that’s new and there’s not much of a deal.”

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady also slammed the plans put forward. She said that Johnson had simply “rehashed old promises”, pointing out that the spending commitments amount to just 0.2% of GDP.

Responding to questions from the press afterwards, the Prime Minister was unable to give an estimate as to how many jobs might be created by the economic recovery plan.

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