Tory Government’s measures to prevent the spread of Coronavirus are weak, inadequate and devisive and are unlikely to address the spread of the disease.
Coronavirus has already forced Johnson and his Tory government to drop the pretence that they are a political party intent upon creating a fairer Britain by bridging the divide between rich and poor; working class and the more privileged classes. The Tories have been exposed by their release of measures to combat the spread of Coronavirus which are exclusive to the wealthy and privileged and which make no consideration for the circumstances of the poorest members of society. These measures already amount to a betrayal of election pledges about unifying Britian and making it a fairer place. Coronavirus has exposed the pretence and the lies of their election campaign as the Tories now abandon the less well off and the vulnerable, in the wake of the Coronavirus outbreak, with a raft of measures which could be judged as uncompassionate and insensitive to the needs of the most vulnerable in society.
Statutory Sick Pay is an insult which has no basis or understanding about the real cost of living
This Tory government is tackling the potential of an outbreak as if it were just a disease likely to effect the wealthy or middle classes and whereby it suggests the relative luxury of self isolation as a means to tackle the outbreak. For those people who have the luxury and privilege of having understanding employers without loss of income this may well be the course of action that is open to them to prevent the spread of the virus. However for many this will not be an option at all. Gig workers and the low paid in sectors such as catering and care may be forced to continue to work because of financial constraints and obligations. It is ironic then that these same services have what could be considered as the greatest potential for the successful spread of the virus, particularly whereby those at the greatest risk of harm from the virus could become exposed because of the weakness of the governments measures. Low paid workers or those with insecure working arrangements will be forced through financial commitments and obligations and the lack of sick pay to continue to work even though they may be contagious and putting others at risk. There has been a lack of provision and an uncaring attitude from Government to address this issue. So far the Government’s response has been to suggest that making claims for Statutory Sick Pay and Universal Credit would address this issue but this is highly unlikely given the length of time that is needed to process such claims (currently 5 weeks for Universal Credit but likely to be more if more people are applying). Also the rates of any benefits would most likely fall well below the average amount earned for a weeks work. So the reality is that Statutory Sick Pay is an insult without any base or grasp of the real costs of living in the UK in 2020. It barely even covers a family’s weekly food bill. I would like to see Bodge-it Johnson surviving on £94 a week. So the reality is that people will not be rushing to make themselves financially vulnerable, in the way that this government suggests, as a result of Coronavirus
It is obvious from Tory Government strategy that they have already abandoned the sham of being a political party with an ambition to bridge class divisions as they suggested they would be in the General Election 2019. Instead they are showing that they are more than ready to sacrifice the poorest members of society in order to protect the richest. The illusion that they even considered or represented the interests of the poorest members of society has already fallen by the wayside as an empty gesture in the wake of a Coronavirus ourbreak in the UK. The measures and policies released to cope with any Coronavirus outbreak in the UK demonstrates that they have already chosen to abandon the poorest and the most vulnerable in our society. Be warned though that such a policy could result in ruination for the Tories because the Coronavirus has no respect for class boundaries. Society is reliant on those from all walks of life / class backgrounds in order to function correctly. Services are traditionally bought from the lower working classes so the chances of coming into contact from someone that may be carrying the infection remain high because that person may be forced, because of lack of support or understanding of financial consequences, to continue to work even though they know they may be carrying potentially lethal infection..
Tory Government planning will actually assist the spread of Coronavirus because they themselves have abandoned the most vulnerable in society. Coronavirus will be spread by the poor and most vulnerable but not exclusively to and amongst the poorest and most vulnerable because Coronavirus has no class boundaries. This is why it is necessary to make sure that every UK citizen is adequately cushioned and financially protected from the outbreak. This is something that this Tory Government have failed to do through these measures released which indicate how they intent to cope with any Coronavirus outbreak in the UK.
Potentially you could find Coronavirus being delivered to your door on something you bought on the Internet or on your Food takeaway delivery
Instead there should be a moral duty & obligation on the part of the UK Government to make sure that every citizen in the UK is adequately protected from both the physical/ health and the financial implications of the illness. Self isolation will be an option in some case but not available as a viable option to all. Many will have other more pressing considerations other than just containment of the virus and preventing the spread of it to others. For many self isolation will not be a viable option because of lack of provision to facilitate coping with the added financial pressures that self isolation would bring if you do not have the privilege of having an understanding employer. For many in the so called ‘Gig Economy’ such as those on Zero hrs contracts or the self employed, self isolation will not be an option worth considering at all. Already we have seen very inadequate responses from so called employers such as Hermes, DPD, Uber etc, all of which fall well short ensuring that their workers are adequately financially protected from an outbreak. For many of these people their priorities may not be to prevent the spread of the virus but simply to avoid financial hardship/ruin as a result of contracting the virus. Under the circumstances many of these companies could ultimately be held accountable for the spread of the Coronavirus in the UK due to lack of employment rights & inadequate protections offered by such companies resulting in exploitative working practices assisting in the spread of the virus. This is a situation that this Tory Government with it’s lack of compassion has conveniently sidestepped and blinkered itself to. As a result you could find Coronavirus being transported to your door on some innocuous cardboard packing of some item that you have ordered from the internet or even in the food of a takeaway that you have ordered from.
I for one fall into the second category. I work in the gig economy without any provisions to allow self isolation when ill. I also work in a service industry whereby I could potentially be forced to work despite Government recommendations about self isolation and in this line of work I could potential come into contact with others carrying the virus. I have no PPE available to me and the supply of adequate cleaning products has dried up due to panic buying in the supermarkets. Despite the shortages their has been a pledge from government that Key Workers will receive adequate PPE to allow them to do their work effectively and safely and that is good, however it seems that I am being forced into a situation whereby I am acting as if I were a Key Worker when I am clearly not and because of this I have no access to, nor is there any obligation to provide me with, adequate PPE to do the work that I do. As such I feel that I am being put under unnecessary potential exposure to the virus due mostly to a lack of any financial support to workers in my sector of the economy. I have not seen a bottle of disinfectant on the shelves for weeks. My dilemma is that my priorities lie with my family and my own family’s ability to survive yet I must also protect others from the spread of the virus.. It is a stark and bleak choice because of this Tory Government’s policy on the matter: with no really meaningful assistance on offer for the self employed to date.. No provision has been made for me nor my family’s circumstances and well being during such an outbreak yet we are being expected to play our part and we are constantly reminded that ‘We are all in this together’. I have to balance being responsible with the duties and obligations that I have towards my own family and our abilities to ride the storm of the Coronavirus outbreak. The Government is not making it easy for me to operate within their guidelines and recommendations, whilst also making sure that my family and my home is adequately protected and provided for, because I don’t see that there is any help coming from anywhere else.