Public Health England Review: Covid-19 Disparities

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 10:37 am on 4th June 2020.

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Photo of Chris Bryant Chris Bryant Chair, Committee on Standards, Chair, Committee on Standards, Chair, Committee of Privileges, Chair, Committee of Privileges 10:37 am, 4th June 2020

I commend Scott Benton for what he has just said, because it is what I was about to say—although I am not going to sit down just yet, if that is all right. It is a simple fact that my constituency, the Rhondda, has one of the highest death rates per 100,000 head of population in the country, and therefore in the world. Being poor is certainly an early death sentence—by some 20 years compared with richer parts of the country—and that is because it is the people who are subsisting on poor wages, few hours and unsafe labour in difficult working conditions, without proper protection, with miserly benefits, with statutory sick pay that does not enable people to put food on the table, relying on food banks, who are dying. Surely, one lesson that we must learn from coronavirus is that we must pay our key workers properly so that they can put food on the table and not rely on food banks.