Starmer urges ‘Plan B’ for economy after Government’s coronavirus ‘failure’

A "Plan B" is needed to help the economy recover from the coronavirus, according to Sir Keir Starmer.

The Labour leader used a televised address to the nation on Wednesday to stress he supports new restrictions being brought in by the Government, but that help aimed at keeping people in employment also needs to be prioritised.

Sir Keir said: "We need a 'Plan B' for the economy. It makes no sense to bring in new restrictions at the same time as phasing out support for jobs and businesses."

He also pointedly criticised Prime Minister Boris Johnson's handling of the crisis, stating that while new restrictions "are now necessary, they were not inevitable".

The Labour leader said the increased restrictions are due to a "failure of Government".

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DUDLEY, ENGLAND - MARCH 08: L-R) Sir Keir Starmer, Shadow Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, addresses the audience during the last Labour Party Leadership hustings at Dudley Town Hall on March 08, 2020 in Dudley, England. Sir Keir Starmer, Rebecca Long-Bailey and Lisa Nandy are vying to replace Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who is stepping down following his party's loss in the December 2019 general election. The new leader and deputy will be announced on 4 April, 2020. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
NEWPORT, UNITED KINGDOM - FEBRUARY 19: Sir Keir Starmer poses for a portrait during a Labour leadership rally at the Neon on February 19, 2020 in Newport, Wales. Sir Keir Starmer, Rebecca Long-Bailey and Lisa Nandy are vying to replace Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who offered to step down following his party's loss in the December 2019 general election. (Photo by Matthew Horwood/Getty Images
Keir Starmer wins Labour leadership election
Britain's opposition Labour Party Shadow Brexit Secretary Starmer leaves BBC HQ in London
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Britain's opposition Labour Party Shadow Brexit Secretary Keir Starmer speaks to members of the media as he leaves the BBC headquarters after appearing on The Andrew Marr Show in London, Britain January 5, 2020. REUTERS/Simon Dawson
Britain's opposition Labour Party Shadow Brexit Secretary Keir Starmer speaks to members of the media as he leaves the BBC headquarters after appearing on The Andrew Marr Show in London, Britain January 5, 2020. REUTERS/Simon Dawson
Britain's opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn and Labour Party's Shadow Secretary of State for Departing the European Union Keir Starmer leave after a meeting with European Union's Chief Brexit Negotiator Michel Barnier in Brussels, Belgium March 21, 2019. REUTERS/Yves Herman
File photo dated 05/02/10 of Keir Starmer QC, the Director of public prosecution, at the CPS headquarters in London, making a statement about MP's who face charges over their expenses claims. Sir Keir Starmer has been elected as the next leader of the Labour Party, beating rivals Rebecca Long-Bailey and Lisa Nandy after the first round of voting.
File photo dated 05/09/06 of human rights advisors Keir Starmer (left) and Jane Gordon, with the Northern Ireland Policing Board annual human rights report 2006, at the Dunadry Hotel in Co Antrim. Sir Keir Starmer has been elected as the next leader of the Labour Party, beating rivals Rebecca Long-Bailey and Lisa Nandy after the first round of voting.
File photo dated 25/09/07 of human rights lawyers Keir Starmer QC and Jane Gordon at the Belfast launch of a major report monitoring the Police Service of Northern Ireland's compliance with the Human Rights Act. Sir Keir Starmer has been elected as the next leader of the Labour Party, beating rivals Rebecca Long-Bailey and Lisa Nandy after the first round of voting.
File photo dated 23/09/08 of Keir Starmer QC, the director of public prosecutions, at the publishing of his final guidelines on prosecutions for assisted suicide at the CPS headquarters at Ludgate Hill in London. Sir Keir Starmer has been elected as the next leader of the Labour Party, beating rivals Rebecca Long-Bailey and Lisa Nandy after the first round of voting.
File photo dated 29/04/19 of shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer (left) and shadow chancellor John McDonnell leaving the Cabinet Office in Westminster, London. Sir Keir Starmer has been elected as the next leader of the Labour Party, beating rivals Rebecca Long-Bailey and Lisa Nandy after the first round of voting.
Labour leadership candidates (left to right) Sir Keir Starmer, Rebecca Long-Bailey and Lisa Nandy during the Labour leadership hustings event hosted by the Co-operative Party, at the Business Design Centre, London.
File photo dated 15/02/20 (left to right) Labour leadership candidates Rebecca Long-Bailey, Lisa Nandy and Sir Keir Starmer after a Labour leadership hustings.
Labour leadership candidate Sir Keir Starmer meets patient Chris Evans (left) and his wife Jeanne Wilby during a visit to Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge, Cambridgeshire.
Keir Starmer during the Labour leadership hustings at the ACC Liverpool. Picture date: Saturday January 18, 2020. Photo credit should read: Isabel Infantes / EMPICS Entertainment.
DUDLEY, ENGLAND - MARCH 08: L-R) Sir Keir Starmer, Shadow Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, addresses the audience during the last Labour Party Leadership hustings at Dudley Town Hall on March 08, 2020 in Dudley, England. Sir Keir Starmer, Rebecca Long-Bailey and Lisa Nandy are vying to replace Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who is stepping down following his party's loss in the December 2019 general election. The new leader and deputy will be announced on 4 April, 2020. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
DUDLEY, ENGLAND - MARCH 08: Sir Keir Starmer, Shadow Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, takes part in the last Labour Party Leadership hustings at Dudley Town Hall on March 08, 2020 in Dudley, England. Sir Keir Starmer, Rebecca Long-Bailey and Lisa Nandy are vying to replace Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who is stepping down following his party's loss in the December 2019 general election. The new leader and deputy will be announced on 4 April, 2020. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
DUDLEY, ENGLAND - MARCH 08: Lisa Nandy, MP for Wigan reacts as she takes part in the last Labour Party Leadership hustings at Dudley Town Hall on March 08, 2020 in Dudley, England. Sir Keir Starmer, Rebecca Long-Bailey and Lisa Nandy are vying to replace Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who is stepping down following his party's loss in the December 2019 general election. The new leader and deputy will be announced on 4 April, 2020. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
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Sir Keir said: "Despite all the sacrifices and heroism of the British people, it's clear we are not through this yet.

"The picture presented by the Government's medical advisers this week was stark and clear.

"Infections are rising. Hospital admissions are increasing. And we know from bitter experience where that could lead.

"That's why the Government had to introduce further restrictions last night.

"We support this.

"And I urge everyone to follow the new guidance and the rule of law.

"While these restrictions are now necessary, they were not inevitable.

"The return of this virus, and the return of restrictions, are not an act of God.

"They're a failure of Government.

"The British people have done everything asked of them.

"But I'm afraid the Government has not.

"We're a great country.

"We shouldn't have one of the highest death rates in the world, or one of the worst recessions.

"It's a national scandal that we still don't have a testing system that works.

"People shouldn't have to travel hundreds of miles to get a test for their child, for themselves or for their relatives."

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