Press coverage

Find coverage in the press of Reform's latest work below. 

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Politics Live, 5 October

Reform Director, Charlotte Pickles, appeared on BBC Politics Live. 

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Reform think tank responds to the Chancellor’s Winter Economy Plan      

Serious risk that new jobs plan won’t work, says think tank

Responding to Chancellor’s statement, Aidan Shilson-Thomas, Senior Researcher, Reform think tank, said:

“The Government’s new scheme is rightly trying to prevent a looming jobs bloodbath without propping up zombie jobs. It is not clear they have found that balance.

“This follow up to furlough has an in-built disincentive for employers, unlike the schemes in Germany and France where the State alone covers the costs of hours not worked. Why would an employer, struggling to stay afloat and uncertain when the economic tide will change, pay this additional cost? Many may opt for simply reducing workers’ hours without top up or proceeding with redundancy.

“Particularly worrying, the Chancellor does not seem to have allocated any further funding for retraining and upskilling, despite the fact that unemployment looks set to keep rising. This is a black hole in the Government’s thinking.”

BBC News, 11 August 2020

Charlotte Pickles was interviewed by BBC News on the latest labour market update from the ONS. 

Charlotte made the case for extending the furlough scheme beyond October 31, arguing that the financial costs represent good value for money and would stave off costly economic ramifications. 

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Good Morning Britain, 11 August 2020

Reform Director, Charlotte Pickles, spoke to Good Morning Britain about the latest employment update from the ONS. 

Charlotte warned that, without Government intervention, we're headed for an employment crisis on par with the Great Depression. 

Watch it back here from 1.47. 

Government must support older career changers and introduce furlough ‘flextension’, says think tank

Responding to the latest ONS Labour Market Update, Reform think tank Director, Charlotte Pickles, said:

“Today’s headline data masks the true extent of the unemployment crisis we’re heading towards. The unemployment rate may be stable, but almost three quarters of a million fewer people are on payroll, the number claiming unemployment benefits has more than doubled and economic inactivity is rising – plus millions remain on furlough.

“At the same time, we have a hiring crisis. Many of the jobs disappearing in sectors such as leisure and hospitality won’t come back. While the Government has pledged serious investment to support young people, they have all but ignored the challenge facing older workers, many of whom will have to switch careers and require support to retrain.

“Ministers should also consider a ‘flextension’ to the furlough scheme. The threat of a second wave and further local lockdowns will damage the economic recovery, simultaneously scrapping the furlough scheme risks a jobs bloodbath in the Autumn. Extending the scheme with greater flexibility, only for those sectors hardest hit, could provide a lifeline for millions.”  

Covered in The i and Personnel Today 

Reform backs Labour call for NAO Job Retention Bonus probe   

Bridget Phillipson MP, Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury, has today (17 July) called for the National Audit Office (NAO) to launch an inquiry into the Job Retention Bonus scheme and whether it is good value for money. 

Responding, Reform’s Director of Research, Eleonora Harwich, said:

“We back this call from the Labour Party. 

“There is a real risk that much of the £9bn earmarked for the Job Retention Bonus will end up as ‘deadweight’ spending. Businesses who were always planning to return furloughed employees stand to benefit from some extra cash, regardless of their financial situation. Given the devastating impact of coronavirus on the public finances, this is something that we cannot afford to happen. 

“The Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has been a success. There is a risk that this may blemish it. We urge the Chancellor to reconsider this policy.” 

Newsnight, Tuesday 7 July

Reform Director, Charlotte Pickles, appeared on BBC Newsnight, ahead of the Chancellor's Summer Economic Statement. 

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City AM, Tuesday 7 July

Ahead of the Chancellor’s Summer Economic statement, Charlotte Pickles wrote a joint article with Stephen Evans, Chief Executive of Learning and Work Institute, for City A.M. Making the case for a £3.2 billion support package, they warned: “It took several years for jobs to recover from each of the last three recessions, and this recession is like no other.”

Conservative Home, Sunday 5 July

Reform Director, Charlotte Pickles argued in Conservative Home that “delaying decisions about investment in employment and skills could be catastrophic,” ahead of the Chancellor's Summer Economic Statement.