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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

I am grateful to my hon. Friend for making that point. It is really, really important that everybody—no matter what their age or health condition—recognises that we are all at risk from this. But there are groups who are especially at risk, and we have an enormous responsibility to protect them as much as possible, including the health workers who we will need to look after us all.

If we want people to stay at home and to observe the 2 metres rule when they are out and about, we have to do everything in our power to make it as easy as possible for them to comply. Delivering financial security is crucial to ensuring that nobody has to go out unless they absolutely have to. I asked the Leader of the House earlier to pass on my point about the construction industry to the Prime Minister. I will make that point again now. There are too many people going on to construction sites that are not essential work. Such construction must stop, otherwise people will carry on going to work. Somebody who works away from home emailed me just this afternoon to tell me that their employer is saying, “I am only interested in the profits of my company”; they do not care about anything else. Those workers are being forced to go to work. If they do not, their pay will be cut and they will have nothing, and they will not be part of any income retention scheme if and when it is applied by that employer.