Helen Barnard, Acting Director of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, said:
“The Prime Minister’s renewed commitment to levelling up is good news. Plans to improve transport are welcome, and the Prime Minister is right to recognise the need to build many more homes. But this cannot come at the expense of affordable and social housing – uncertainty around funding for the homes that those locked in poverty most need is a disappointing start. With successive governments promising and failing to deliver, the Prime Minister must do more than talk the talk; he must now walk the walk.
“The government’s vision to ‘build back better’ has to extend beyond bricks and mortar or roads and railway lines. We need to see investment in skills and training too, so that those trapped on low pay or living in parts of the country with weaker local economies can access good jobs. And as the recession starts to bite, a ‘new deal’ must focus on more than just job creation. With unemployment set to rise, the government should now step up support through the benefits system for those who have already lost their jobs or will do so as the furlough scheme unwinds.
“The coronavirus crisis has shown the nation’s willingness to look out for each other. As the task of rebuilding our economy begins, government must ensure that no-one is left behind. We look forward to the government setting out its plans in more detail in the coming weeks."