The pandemic has unfolded at different paces in countries around the world, and countries have acted in a way that works best for their respective economies. In this country, the Government have put in place more than £200 billion-worth of support to protect people’s jobs, businesses and incomes, and that is one of the most comprehensive economic responses of its kind anywhere in the world. Our goal remains to continue to protect those livelihoods, those jobs and those businesses while we allow the economy to adapt to the changing circumstances.
Britain’s fiscal support outshines that of our European neighbours, but constituencies such as mine have never really emerged from the economic lockdown. Employment and many businesses are being stretched, and the Mayor of Greater Manchester needs to learn from Bolton Wanderers and start playing ball. Will the Treasury constantly review the financial help on offer for those faced with tier 3 restrictions and, indeed, consider some of the ideas that were forthcoming from my hon. Friend the Member for Cheadle (Mary Robinson) in relation to VAT reduction for the hospitality industry?
I am delighted that my hon. Friend draws Bolton Wanderers into a discussion on the Floor of the House of Commons—it is a very fine club. He will know that we have committed almost £500 million of support to English local authorities through the tiering system, and that that comes on top of the £300 million already allocated to local authorities for test, trace and contain activity. He should also be aware that there are grants of up to £3,000 per month, depending on rateable value, through the local restrictions support grant, as well as the expansion that the Chancellor has recently announced to the job support scheme. All of that forms part of our comprehensive package.
At the beginning of the pandemic, the OECD forecast that unemployment in the UK would rise to 9.1% by the end of this year. It recently revised its forecast down to 5.3%. Can the Minister confirm that the winter jobs plan will continue to provide the right kind of support to help our flexible labour market to adapt to the pandemic?
My hon. Friend is absolutely right to highlight the point about the OECD’s forecasts, and also the astonishing flexibility and effectiveness of our labour markets. She will know that the Government continue to adapt their response and, as the Chancellor mentioned a few minutes ago, we will shortly be launching the £2 billion kickstarter scheme alongside the job support scheme. That will be a tremendous boost for the prospects of young people across the country.