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Union lays out new jobs plan for region

By Peter Madeley | Politics | Published:

Union bosses have laid out a recovery plan they say will prevent mass unemployment following the coronavirus pandemic.

Frances O'Grady, General Secretary of the Trades Union Congress (TUC)

The TUC's plan centres on "investment for growth", with the West Midlands using greater devolved powers and expanding its role in low carbon technologies.

It would see the West Midlands lead a "green industrial revolution" in house building, while jobs would be protected and created through Government investment in infrastructure and a jobs guarantee scheme.

The union has also called for the formation of a regional recovery panel – featuring representation from unions, employers, Job Centre Plus and local and regional government – to work with a national panel to thrash out local objectives and put workers "at the heart" of the decision making process.

It comes as Chancellor Rishi Sunak prepares to unveil his economic strategy for coping with the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic later this week.

The TUC estimates that in the West Midlands, 882,100 workers (32 per cent of all workers) have been reliant on a government scheme for income during the pandemic.

"With many people in the West Midlands already facing significant levels of debt, they cannot afford the hit to their incomes that unemployment would involve," the report says.

TUC general secretary, Frances O’Grady, said: "If we allow mass unemployment to take hold, our economy will be smaller, and the recovery from the pandemic will be slower.

"That’s why good jobs are at the heart of our recovery plan for the West Midlands. Jobs in a reborn manufacturing sector. Jobs in the green tech we need to safeguard our future. Jobs in a revitalised transport system.

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“And we must value our public services in the West Midlands too. Key workers kept us going through the crisis. But after ten years of cuts, it was much harder for them than it should have been. It’s time to rebuild local public services for the future."

"This week, we’re asking the Chancellor to put his faith in people in the West Midlands and across the UK with big and bold investment.

"If he backs us in this way, we can avoid mass unemployment, work our way to recovery and build back better."

Liam Byrne MP, Labour's candidate for West Midlands Mayor, said the Government's own recovery plan was "too little, too late".

"We need ministers to think again and this report shows how," he added.

"It’s a not only a plan for real help now to save manufacturing, it’s a blue print for how our region, the home of the industrial revolution can become the Britain’s Green Manufacturing Capital’

Peter Madeley

By Peter Madeley
@P_Madeley_Star

Political Editor for the Express & Star. Responsible for local and national political stories, opinion, comment and analysis.

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