Yesterday, the government asked whole households to self isolate for 14 days if one member of the household shows symptoms of COVID-19. This would prevent all or any breadwinners in family households from working.
Taking into account factors like pay, mortgage repayments and the cost of living, Norwich languishes 50th out of 59 cities for earning power. So two weeks without pay here will hit families really hard in our city because they are already struggling especially hard to keep their heads above water financially.
Yet again there was nothing in Boris Johnson’s Coronavirus press conference yesterday which showed any understanding that this health crisis will lead to an explosion of financial misery if people’s regular income is so profoundly disrupted.
On behalf of working people, Labour is demanding extra entitlement to Statutory Sick Pay for the low paid and self-employed and an increase in the rate paid. My party is calling for a scheme to pause debt repayments and rent and mortgage as well as extra money for social care. Yesterday the prime minister did nothing on any of that.
He did however advise the whole nation to not go to pubs, bars and restaurants with absolutely no hint of any kind of compensation scheme for those businesses who may go under as a result of his advice.
In France, the government is putting aside 300 billion euros to help their businesses, all gas and electricity bills have been suspended and unemployment benefits massively extended. If they can do all that twenty miles across the channel, there’s absolutely no reason why we can’t here.