Need for action on sick pay and social care in light of coronavirus pandemic

Labour is today using two Opposition Day debates to challenge the government on its approach to tackling the coronavirus pandemic, focusing on statutory sick pay and social care.

In the first debate, on statutory sick pay, Margaret Greenwood, Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, will say:

“Nobody should face a choice between their health or financial hardship. All workers should be eligible for Statutory Sick Pay and the level of it should be raised so that people are not pushed into poverty by doing the right thing.

“There is a danger that those already pushed to the margins of our society will be worst affected by this crisis, those who are struggling on low incomes or who are disabled.

“We need leadership from the government to ensure that everyone is protected if they fall ill, are forced to self-isolate or see their jobs at risk.”

In the second debate, on social care, Barbara Keeley, Labour’s Shadow Minister for Mental Health and Social Care, is expected to say:

“Older people and those with underlying health conditions are at greater risk from the coronavirus than the rest of the population.

“This means that over the coming months, social care will be more important than ever.

“Care staff will often be on the front line of our efforts to stop the spread of this disease. We are particularly concerned about homecare workers, who might provide care to up to a dozen older or disabled people in their own homes every day, and about unpaid family carers.

“We need to see a detailed action plan from the government that addresses the concerns of local authorities, social care services and family carers. The work that they do will be central to addressing this crisis and will help to hold communities together as we do so.”

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