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The Opposition leaders’ setback in the bookies’ ballot came on the week he delivered his first Labour conference speech as leader in a bid to regain voters’ trust following the party’s washout in last December’s election. Mr Sunak appears to be going from strength to strength since being appointed to make the most important decision on the UK’s public finances in February.
As Britons prepared for Mr Sunak’s post-furlough plans this week, the Chancellor jumped to the number one spot on Ladbrokes’ list for the next prime minister, at odds of 5/2.
Mr Starmer is now seen as the second most likely person to head into No 10 after Boris Johnson’s stint, at 3/1.
Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove, who is responsible for no-deal Brexit planning, has 6/1 odds.
In his first party conference speech as leader this week, Mr Starmer said Labour “must get serious about winning”.
Speaking to the audience at the online conference, he claimed Mr Johnson was “just not up to the job” as prime minister.
He said Mr Johnson had shown “serial incompetence” as he vowed to win back the support of voters.
Mr Starmer said: “The Labour Party has lost four general elections in a row.
“We’ve granted the Tories a decade of power.
“The Tories have had as many election wins in five years as we’ve had in 75.
“It’s a betrayal of what we believe in to let this go on.”
On Thursday Mr Sunak, who replaced Sajid Javid in No 11, unveiled a multibillion-pound package of support for the economy in the House of Commons.
The support for individuals and businesses across the country comes amid a second wave of COVID-19 and multiple localised lockdowns.
Announcing fresh measures to replace the furlough scheme, he unveiled the Jobs Support Scheme (JSS), a form of wage subsidy for “viable” jobs.
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The replacement system will kick in when the furlough scheme is wound down on October 31.
The new system will allow staff to be paid by their employer for working at least a third of their usual hours.
The Government will top up part of their salary that would have otherwise been lost due to working reduced hours.
Mr Sunak said in a tweet that the JSS “will directly support the wages of people in work, giving businesses who face depressed winter demand the option of keeping employees in a job on shorter hours rather than making them redundant.”
Wage support will be available for all small and medium-sized businesses.
The JSS will last six months. It is expected to cost the Treasury an estimated £300million a month for every million workers enrolled.
This compares with the furlough scheme which has cost about £6billion a month.
Mr Sunak also said a temporary reduction of VAT rates from 20 percent to five percent for the hospitality and tourism sectors will be extended for a further two months, with a new deadline of March 31 2021.
The Chancellor said the extension of the VAT cut would add around £800million to the existing £2.5billion cost of the measure.
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