After a budget largely dedicated to Coronavirus and several further stop-start announcements by the government, there remain gaping holes in the government’s response to the virus.
Statutory sick pay of £94 a week is not enough to live on and pay the bills. Weeks into this crisis, it means that workers who fall ill will still be faced with the choice of hardship or risking the health of their work colleagues. Other European countries are so much better at looking after their people. A worker forced into self-isolation for a week, in Germany or Austria gets almost £300 of sick pay.
Today’s further announcements by the Chancellor won’t assuage growing public anxiety and do nothing for renters and those who are actually losing their jobs. And when is this government going to hold up its hands and admit that this public health emergency is being made worse by ten years of underfunding of our NHS and taking the axe to so many of the services that help prevent people becoming ill in the first place? At the absolute minimum now, the government must match their commitment to “whatever resources the NHS needs” with a similar guarantee for social care.