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Financial and Social Emergency Support Package

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 2:08 pm on 25th March 2020.

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Photo of Jesse Norman Jesse Norman The Financial Secretary to the Treasury 2:08 pm, 25th March 2020

It is not in my power to say yes to that, I am afraid, but the request has been noted and, of course, I will pass it on.

I think I can speak for everyone in this House in wanting to put on record my thanks to all those across Government, in Parliament and in our public services who have made this astonishingly fast speed of reaction possible. The result has been an unparalleled package of measures that we have brought forward with great rapidity and resolve, and I pay tribute to them for that. I reassure the House that Ministers and officials continue to work day and night to consider how best to provide further support, including for the self-employed, which I will touch on later.

Ultimately, however, success in defeating this virus rests not with Ministers and officials in Whitehall, but on the actions of millions of individual people throughout the country. Our common aim must be to reduce the rate of infection and prevent the national health service from becoming overwhelmed. In that way, our doctors and nurses, and all those who support them, can focus on helping those in greatest need. Every man, woman and child can be a lifesaver by staying at home, only venturing out when strictly necessary for food, medicine and essential exercise, and even then staying at least two metres away from other people.

The Government are in no doubt of the scale of the challenge. The action that we must take collectively represents a profound, but temporary change to our way of life in this country. Indeed, it runs counter to human nature.