'Recovery will take longer because of Rishi Sunak's irresponsible decisions'

The economic figures released yesterday make for grim reading. 

They were confirmation that the UK economy has been hit harder than any other country in the G7. 

So our path to recovery is longer and more difficult – and that means hard times ahead for families up and down the country. 

To listen to the Chancellor you’d think it was nothing to do with him. But the truth is, recovery will take longer because of his irresponsible decisions. 

We were too slow into lockdown, too hasty to withdraw vital support from businesses and workers, and the Chancellor’s had to rip up his winter economy plan four times before winter has even started. 

That has led to deeper damage and a longer recovery.

Rishi Sunak warned the ‘economic emergency’ has just begun as he delivered his Spending Review

And it’s clear that it’s the British people who will be picking up the bill. 

Buried in the small print of his response was a £1billion council tax bombshell that will hit families up and down the country. 

The Chancellor froze pay for police officers, firefighters and other key workers – that will pull spending out of our high streets and small businesses. 

And he ploughed ahead with a cut to Universal Credit that will hit those who can least afford it.

This triple hammer blow to people’s pockets is totally irresponsible when the economy needs all the support it can get.  

Labour believe that we should be ambitious for Britain, making it the best place to grow up in and the best place to grow old in. 

This Government has talked a good game on improving towns and cities across the country.

So what was the Chancellor’s big idea? A Levelling Up Fund that will see money doled out on the basis of what favoured MPs want, not the needs of local communities.

More pork-barrel politics from a Government that’s learned none of the lessons of the past.

And yet again there was no clarity for businesses on what targeted support they will receive when lockdown ends. And not enough action to build it in Britain again by investing in the green manufacturing jobs of the future. 

On a day when we need focused action to recover jobs, retrain workers and rebuild businesses, yesterday featured too many lost opportunities.