Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer is to urge the government to “protect family incomes” as it deals with the economic effects of coronavirus.
In his first speech of the year, he will demand that teachers, the armed forces and care workers are left out of the public sector pay freeze.
Sir Keir will also call on ministers not to end the temporary £20-a-week boost to Universal Credit.
The government has promised to act to “protect people’s jobs and incomes”.
With coronavirus restrictions and lockdowns shutting thousands of businesses, the economy was 7.9% smaller in October last year than it had been six months earlier.
And the government’s independent forecaster, the Office for Budgetary Responsibility, predicts that unemployment will rise to 2.6 million by the middle of this year.
In his speech, Sir Keir will say ministers must “protect family incomes and support businesses” from the economic effects of previous restrictions and the current lockdown.
He will add that policies must “make a real difference to millions of people across the country” and “put families at the heart of our recovery”.
Sir Keir will argue that the £20-a-week rise given to Universal Credit claimants last April must continue beyond this April’s cut-off point.
Council tax increases in England of up to 5% this April must not happen, he will say, while calling for the ban on evictions and repossessions to be extended.
The government’s pay freeze for at least 1.3 million public sector workers – which does not apply to NHS frontline staff and those earning below £24,000 a year – must not go ahead, Sir Keir will say.
“I know this isn’t everything that’s needed,” he will add, “and after so much suffering we can’t go back the status quo.
“We cannot return to an economy where over half our care workers earn less than the living wage, where childcare is among the most expensive in Europe, where our social care system is a national disgrace and where over four million children grow up in poverty.”
He will argue that, just as a Labour government “built the welfare state from the rubble” of World War Two, a future one can “secure our economy, protect our NHS and rebuild our country so that Britain is the best country to grow up in and the best country to grow old in”.
The chancellor’s Spending Review in November set out the cost to the UK economy so far of dealing with coronavirus.
Rishi Sunak warned that the “economic emergency” caused by the pandemic had only begun, with lasting damage to growth and jobs.
But he promised to take “extraordinary measures to protect people’s jobs and incomes”.