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extension of leave to remain

Part of Coronavirus Bill – in the House of Commons at 9:45 pm on 23rd March 2020.

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Photo of Jim Shannon Jim Shannon Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Human Rights), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Health) 9:45 pm, 23rd March 2020

First, let me thank the Government for their contribution and highlight the plight of the NHS staff who do not have enough protection gear. Will the Minister ascertain whether any factories can be used to assist in the interim? I have also been approached by someone about whether, in relation to new clauses 3 and 4, those with an HGV licence could step in to drive supplies—due to a DVLA technicality, they are precluded from doing so. Can we lift that restriction legally, as it is only a technicality, and allow him and others to step in?

The shadow Minister referred to the 80% of wages being available by 1 April, but may I implore her to make that money available from March?

On new clause 4 and factories producing the food and medication we need, I am thinking of TG Eakin in Comber, producing colostomy bags. They cannot go home; what help is in place for them?

On new clauses 9 and 11, what about the self-employed? I have electricians with no premises because their jobs consist of fixing electrics in homes and businesses; can they access the business grant? I have self-employed café owners who have been asked to close their businesses—their staff are getting a wage, but they are not. What is being done to help them? What about a constituent who has a shop stocking cleaning products and basic groceries who is delivering cleaning products, potatoes, milk and other things free of charge? What help is there for him and his staff in new clauses 9 and 11? The business grant will only pay his rent for a few months, so how does he feed his five children?

Lastly, self-employed people should get a basic wage when we are telling them to close and when they cannot reasonably stay open. Again, I would ask what has been done for those who are self-employed. New clause 8 is about education: what about self-employed coaches who are essential in day-to-day life to the mental health and physical wellbeing of our children? What about agency staff working in colleges and the civil service? Do they qualify for the 80% wages that they should under new clauses 9 and 11?