In a critique of the Government’s newly announced Job Support Scheme (JSS), Labour has warned that one million jobs are at risk.

Last week, the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, unveiled a Job Support Scheme which would replace the current furlough scheme. Rolling out on the 1st November 2020 and lasting for six months, employees would be paid at least 77% of their wage and would be expected to work at least one-third of their normal hours.

Despite the JSS being created to avoid mass unemployment caused by stricter COVID measures, Labour claims that millions of jobs are at risk as the JSS critically overlooks sectors such as hospitality, events and entertainment.

Statistics used by Labour show that over one million people would not be eligible for the JSS including employees in events and conferences sector (171,000), weddings sector (500,000), night life sector (70,000), sports sector (369,000) and creative arts and entertainment sector (90,000).

Lucy Powell, the shadow minister for business and consumers, said:

“The chancellor is consigning whole sectors of our economy to the scrapheap, damaging lives and livelihoods, and threatening the recovery. The failure of ministers to ensure an effective test, track and trace system means that many businesses have no idea when they can reopen. The decision to shut these firms out of the job support scheme adds insult to injury.”

When outlining the JSS, Rishi Sunak, the Chancellor, said:

“We need to create new opportunities and allow the economy to move forward and that means supporting people to be in viable jobs which provide genuine security. As I’ve said throughout this crisis, I cannot save every business. I cannot save every job. No chancellor could.”

Amanda Milling, co-chairman of the Conservative Party, said:

“We know that many people are worried about their future, which is why the Chancellor has put in place a Winter Economy Plan to support jobs and businesses.

For all their political point-scoring, we are yet to hear a plan from Labour beyond empty statements. Rather than viewing the pandemic as a ‘good crisis’ to exploit, they should focus on acting in the nation’s interest – not just their own.”