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Financial and Social Emergency Support Package

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:37 pm on 25th March 2020.

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Photo of Bill Esterson Bill Esterson Shadow Minister (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy), Shadow Minister (International Trade) 4:37 pm, 25th March 2020

The badge on the Chancellor’s Twitter account says: “Stay At Home save lives”. I completely agree with the sentiment behind that message. A number of hon. and right hon. Members also have that badge on their Twitter accounts. However, if people cannot afford to stay at home, they simply will not do so. They will have to go out to find the money to put food on the table. That applies, as things stand, to very many self-employed people. It also applies to many people who have lost their jobs because of the financial downturn that has happened so suddenly and unexpectedly. People who do not qualify for sick pay and who have symptoms of the virus will also have to go out to find money, as will those who suffer as a result of the delays in universal credit, which have been so well described by many hon. and right hon. Members. As my right hon. Friend Stephen Timms said, it will also happen to those who have no recourse to public funds.

Health has to be absolutely paramount in everything that we say and do, by which I mean the health of the individual and their potential to pass on the virus to other people, especially to health workers who we need to look after the rest of us.