Responding to the speech made today (Monday) by the chancellor of the exchequer Rishi Sunak, the leader of the country's biggest union, Unite, dismissed it as 'thin gruel for fearful workers'.

Len McCluskey said:  "Warm words and sympathy do not put food on the table. I'm afraid to say that when the country hungers for a hearty diet of jobs saving and creation, the chancellor has offered little more than thin gruel for fearful workers.

"The country is braced for mass unemployment; what we want to hear is what the government is going to do to fend that off.  Where is the plan?  We need plans to stimulate growth of new sectors now, to nourish them so that they are in a position to provide jobs to those sectors devastated by the virus, and we need action to stop millions of people being tipped overnight into poverty.

"These are unique times with the gloomiest economic outlook for three hundred years so it is the duty of government to use all the powers at its disposal to drive a new economy for all.

“They have to be prepared to do more than simply set out more chairs in the job centre - and talk of `hard choices' ahead sounds dangerously like a scheme to balance the books on the back of working people and the poor.

 "Workers have not caused this crisis, a fact recognised by the French and can sleep more easily in their beds at night.

"We are urging the chancellor: do not abandon UK workers.  Pull the country's talents together urgently to produce a proper programme to stop our communities descending into jobs wastelands."


Notes to editors:

For more information please contact Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 020 3371 2060 or 07768 693940. Unite press office is on:  020 3371 2065.

Please note the numbers above are for journalists’ enquiries only.

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Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest union with members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.