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Source: Labour List UK

Over 10,000 Labour and trade union activists have backed a “people’s plan” put forward by the Labour Assembly Against Austerity as an alternative to the government’s coronavirus economic response, LabourList can reveal.

The Conservatives will oversee an end to the national furlough scheme this month, which risks the livelihoods of thousands across the country as Covid-19 rules continue to badly affect sectors such as hospitality.

The Chancellor announced last week that local furlough schemes will be available in areas under the toughest restrictions, but employees will have 67% of their wages paid for by the government and employers will not need to top them up.

As well as leaving workers to be paid under the minimum wage, the scheme will not be offered to businesses hit hard but not forced to shut, and millions of workers remain excluded from any kind of government financial support.

Analysis by the Institute of Public Policy Research (IPPR) has found that only 230,000 jobs will be saved by Rishi Sunak’s measures, and that just under two million people in otherwise viable work will be made unemployed.

The Labour Assembly Against Austerity, a pressure group launched in 2013, organised a statement in response to the “disastrous” Tory handling of the current economic crisis that has now been backed by over 10,000 activists.

Endorsed by Labour MPs such as Jeremy Corbyn, John McDonnell, Diane Abbott and Rebecca Long-Bailey, the “plan for the people” stresses the need to “ensure that people’s jobs, livelihoods and health come before private profit”.

It advocates full employment with well-paid secure jobs achieved through a Green New Deal, a minimum earnings guarantee, statutory sick pay at living wage levels, support for renters and a universal social care service.

Commenting on the support received by the plan, a Labour Assembly Against Austerity spokesperson said: “The support for the people’s plan shows just how concerned Labour members are at the threat of mass unemployment and evictions that are looming this winter.

“Labour members want to fight the Tory government’s poverty agenda… The strong grassroots support is a sign that grassroots party members want the party to adopt a bold policy alternative to the Tories.”

In a bid to secure more support from Keir Starmer, the spokesperson added: “We hope that Labour’s leadership will back these measures and set out an alternative that meets the scale of crisis that about to hit our communities.”

Richard Burgon similarly said: “Recent U-turn after U-turn from the government shows that we can win concessions. Our party needs to step forward with a real alternative. It clear that’s what Labour activists want and the country needs.”

Bell Ribeiro-Addy stressed the need to “build a movement to resist Tory attacks”, while former party chair Ian Lavery said: “We can’t trust the Tories not to make working class people pay – let’s fight back together.”

Below is the full text of the alternative plan.

The economic crisis we now face is set to be the worst any of us have experienced. We urgently need to transform our economy and society to ensure that people’s jobs, livelihoods and health come before private profit.

Defend livings standards and jobs – invest in our future

The fight to prevent soaring unemployment is paramount. We need to build a movement that demands the government takes the action needed to create full-employment with well-paid secure jobs for all.

This will need massive, sustained investment in our infrastructure, in council housing, transport, public services, industry and beyond.

We must eradicate financial insecurity through a minimum earnings guarantee at a decent level, ensure statutory sick pay at living wage levels, support for renters, and build a social security system that is universal and not punitive.

The crisis has shown we need trade unions more than ever. Greater union rights and freedoms will help end the exploitative zero-hour and precarious contracts that dominate our economy, save jobs and give workers a proper say in their workplace.

Rebuilding to tackle the climate catastrophe and achieve social justice:

We must rebuild in a way that tackles the existential threat of climate breakdown with ambitious, redistributive policies that put jobs, equality and improving people’s lives first. Research shows £85bn investment in green infrastructure could help create 1.24 million jobs in two years.

The state must urgently invest to create high-quality green jobs and technologies through a Green New Deal, providing a just, environmentally sustainable transition of our industries and infrastructure by safeguarding the employment of all.

Universal, publicly-owned services:

Our public services provided the vital support needed during the pandemic. But this crisis also sharply exposed how a decade of austerity and privatisation has left them at breaking point. We need to rebuild them to be the world class services our communities deserve creating hundreds of thousands of socially useful jobs at the same time. Only public ownership and universality will ensure access to our public services.

Our transport system should be integrated and upgraded, with the railways and buses publicly owned and education properly funded and free for all. NHS under-funding, staff shortages and privatisation must end. We urgently need a public, universal social care service.

Equality for all:

This pandemic has shone a spotlight on the deep structural inequalities in our society. Now is the time for real change. The dismantling of systematic inequality and liberation for all must be at the heart of how we rebuild better.

The Black Lives Matter movement has rightly pushed the structural racism to the top of the political agenda. Real government action, not just words, is now needed.

Women and disabled people have already seen a rolling back of equality gains under the Tories and these risk being further undermined, while LGBT+ people face a reactionary government which is not afraid to use the tactics of divide and rule. We must demand an end to the scapegoating of disabled people on benefits.

MPs backing the plan include McDonnell, Corbyn, Burgon, Lavery, Diane Abbott, Grahame Morris, Rebecca Long-Bailey, Jon Trickett, Zarah Sultana, Ian Byrne, Bell Ribeiro-Addy, Kate Osborne, Mick Whitley, Claudia Webbe, Tahir Ali and Apsana Begum.

Labour peers backing the plan include Shami Chakrabarti, Christine Blower, Pauline Bryan and John Hendy.

MIL OSI United Kingdom