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Covid-19: Employment Support - Statement

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 12:38 pm on 19th March 2020.

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Photo of Lord Hendy Lord Hendy Labour 12:38 pm, 19th March 2020

My Lords, all legal categories of worker will need income protection in this crisis, but can the Minister say whether the income protection proposals will cover, in the mind of the Government, five particular situations? First, there are those who will be off sick with coronavirus: clearly, they will be entitled to statutory sick pay, even though it is a pittance at £94.25 a week—a figure that will have to be increased. Secondly, there are those who are self-isolating and are not sick—at least not yet—and will not be entitled to statutory sick pay because they are not sick. Thirdly, there will be those who are off work to care for others, including children shut out of school, who will never be entitled to statutory sick pay but who do need income protection. Fourthly, there will be those who lose their jobs because of the loss of trade by reason of Covid-19 or following advice from Public Health England or the Government. I remind the Minister that the Financial Times this morning said that over 200,000 people in restaurants and catering have already lost their jobs—have been laid off—since mid-February. I noted that the figure did not include air transport or the holiday trade; I saw in the newspaper yesterday that British Airways had served an HR1, and it has 30,000 employees. Income protection must cover those who have lost or may yet lose their jobs. Fifthly, will it cover those who are redeployed from existing work to do emergency work, social care work or other work, not just volunteers?