Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 7:41 pm on 11th November 2020.

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Photo of Jo Churchill Jo Churchill The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care 7:41 pm, 11th November 2020

I have only two minutes left. I would be happy to take the matter up with my hon. Friend afterwards.

I cannot speak for the Chancellor, but I know he will have heard the contributions by hon. and right hon. Friends, particularly my right hon. Friend the Member for North Somerset, to ask him to listen to those who pay themselves through dividends. However, we have had an unprecedented package of support, including some £200 billion since March and the furlough scheme, which has protected the jobs of some 9 million people. I am married to a small business owner. Some 99% of all businesses in this country are SMEs and 95% of them are micros. This is hard, and nobody is denying that.

On data, I thank my hon. Friend Laura Trott, because it is important. I note the comments of my hon. Friend Bob Seely, but the scientific picture last week was bleak and the consequences, as we have seen, come in the 10 days after, with rising numbers of admissions and, tragically, deaths. The R rate was above 1 in every single region of the country. The virus is growing more quickly in older populations, and the number of cases in the over-60s in England doubled between 14 October and 4 November. That is why it was imperative to take action. As we deliver the vaccination, it will be the JVCI that determines how we roll it out and the risk stratification on which we do it.

We must persevere. I understand the weariness of people, but I close by echoing the words of many—I am sure all of us—and pay tribute to the NHS and care staff, who I know are exhausted. They will be so important in helping us get through this winter and, we hope, in delivering a safe and effective vaccine. I pay special tribute not only to the general practice community pharmacies and community health teams, but all workers on the frontline. There are some unsung heroes of the pandemic, and I want them to know how much we value them. It is through incredible contributions that we will see this through to a brighter day.

Question put and agreed to.


That this House
has considered covid-19.