A “Plan B” is needed to help the economy recover from the coronavirus, according to Sir Keir Starmer.
The Labour leader used a televised address to the nation on Wednesday to stress he supports new restrictions being brought in by the Government, but that help aimed at keeping people in employment also needs to be prioritised.
Sir Keir said: “We need a ‘Plan B’ for the economy. It makes no sense to bring in new restrictions at the same time as phasing out support for jobs and businesses.”
He also pointedly criticised Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s handling of the crisis, stating that while new restrictions “are now necessary, they were not inevitable”.
The Labour leader said the increased restrictions are due to a “failure of Government”.
Sir Keir said: “Despite all the sacrifices and heroism of the British people, it’s clear we are not through this yet.
“The picture presented by the Government’s medical advisers this week was stark and clear.
“Infections are rising. Hospital admissions are increasing. And we know from bitter experience where that could lead.
“That’s why the Government had to introduce further restrictions last night.
“We support this.
“And I urge everyone to follow the new guidance and the rule of law.
“While these restrictions are now necessary, they were not inevitable.
“The return of this virus, and the return of restrictions, are not an act of God.
“They’re a failure of Government.
“The British people have done everything asked of them.
“But I’m afraid the Government has not.
“We’re a great country.
“We shouldn’t have one of the highest death rates in the world, or one of the worst recessions.
“It’s a national scandal that we still don’t have a testing system that works.
“People shouldn’t have to travel hundreds of miles to get a test for their child, for themselves or for their relatives.”