Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer called once again for a ‘back-to-work’ budget to be brought in by the Government that focuses on employment.
Speaking at an online version of the Durham Miners Gala, Sir Keir branded the Government’s response to the coronavirus crisis as ‘slow’ and ‘confusing’.
The Labour leader said his party will not allow communities and its workers to pay for the economic costs the virus will bring.
Sir Keir Starmer once again called for the Government to introduce a ‘back-to-work’ budget that focuses on employment
He told a Facebook broadcast of the Gala: ‘Coronavirus has shown the strength in our communities, it’s shown that our economy depends on the essential workers who kept our country going.
‘And let me say this now, and let me say it clearly: Labour will not allow workers in their communities to pay for the cost of this crisis.
‘It is not of your making and many of you, and your families, have been on the front line, in our hospitals, our shops, our care homes, keeping schools open for the children of key workers and in so many other jobs that have been undervalued and underpaid for too long.
‘But we must also draw on the spirit of the Gala to ensure your jobs and industries are protected as we emerge from this crisis. That is why Labour is calling for a back-to-work budget.
‘We’re already paying the economic price of the Government’s slow and confused response to saving jobs. That’s why a back-to-work budget must have one focus: jobs, jobs, jobs.’
The Durham Miners’ Gala normally attracts around 200,000 people but was forced to be held online due to the global pandemic.
Mr Starmer was speaking at the Durham Miners Gala, which was broadcast online this year
The Durham Miners Gala (pictured in 2019) normally attracts around 200,000 people but was broadcasted online due to the COVID-19 crisis. This year is Sir Keir’s first Gala as Labour leader
Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner (pictured) was also speaking at the Durham Miners Gala event via Facebook Live
The annual occasion is Europe’s largest trade union event and has only been cancelled for either world wars or national strikes.
Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner also spoke at the Gala and claimed that the divide between the north and south of England is continuing to grow.
Ms Rayner said: ‘Together we are strong. And in the months ahead we will need our collective strength as we fight to make sure that the most vulnerable in our society don’t bear the burden of the economic impact of the coronavirus.
‘Our mining communities know about the human cost of mass unemployment. We know how it feels to be abandoned by a Tory government and for an entire generation to be consigned to what the Thatcher government called “managed decline”. We cannot let that happen again.
‘The north-south divide is continuing to grow and we cannot afford for the economic impact of the coronavirus to increase this gap even more.’