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MP Rushanara Ali praises “resilient” people of Bethnal Green and Bow as she warns against further austerity

PUBLISHED: 17:00 28 April 2020

Rushanara Ali, MP for Bethnal Green and Bow. Picture: Rushanara Ali

Rushanara Ali, MP for Bethnal Green and Bow. Picture: Rushanara Ali

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MP Rushanara Ali warns that the UK is “not ready” for the “terrible economic storm” that is coming as a result of coronavirus.

In a speech delivered at yesterday’s Finance Bill debate, Ms Ali urged the government not to respond to Covid-19 by implementing huge public spending cuts, as she claimed “a decade of under-investment” has left the UK unprepared for what’s to come.

Paying tribute to her “resilient” Bethnal Green and Bow constituents, the MP said: “No matter how resilient or tough they are, they need government on their side.

“They need targeted interventions to help them in these difficult times, and they need protections against the vagaries of a global economy, to protect their jobs, their incomes, their businesses.”

Ms Ali described the economic projections as “chilling”, with the latest analysis from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) predicting the post-coronavirus recession will be worse than the 2007 crash.

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The Finance Bill does little to remedy this predicament, according to the MP, who condemned it as “inadequate, even before the Covid crisis”.

In calling out “deficit hawks” who are already calling for spending cuts, Ms Ali was clear: “Another decade of austerity as the answer to government debt is absolutely not acceptable.

“Surely we’ve learnt from the financial crisis in the recent weeks that we have to make sure our public services are resilient and strong, in order to face the threats of global pandemics and economic downturns.”

The MP demanded that the government protect frontline workers that are “often the low paid who haven’t been treated well”, before adding: “They don’t run the country, but they make the country run.”

These workers should be appreciated, not forced to pay the price for a crisis that they helped the country survive.

The need for support is clear, as the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) predicts Britain’s GDP will fall by 35% in the second quarter and that over two million people will become unemployed.

In concluding, the representative implored the government to help local authorities, highlighting that Tower Hamlets is spending “around £25 million and losing £35 million” as a result of the pandemic.


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