In one tweet, a Labour MP just tore down Tory coronavirus policy


The Tory government is in the midst of more chaos. Nothing new there, obviously. But this time its coronavirus (Covid-19) policies are even more contradictory than usual. Enter a Labour MP, who in one tweet brought the government’s approach to the pandemic crashing down.

Tweet of the day?

Ian Lavery is Labour’s MP for Wansbeck. Under Jeremy Corbyn, he was the party chairman. But even after leaving the role in April, he’s still setting fire to the Tories.

Lavery tweeted on Sunday 20 September that:

If you were looking for a summing-up of the problems with the Tories’ coronavirus plan, then that’s the tweet. Because it seems that ‘joined-up thinking’ is not part of the government’s strategy.

£10k fines

First, and as ITV News reported, the Tories are threatening us with up to £10,000 fines. These are if the government tells us to self-isolate and we ignore it. ITV News noted that:

Coronavirus rule breakers in England could soon face a minimum £1000 fine as it becomes law for those who test positive, or are contacted by Test and Trace, to self-isolate.

Under the new rules, repeat offences – and the most serious breaches – could be punished with fines of up to £10,000.

So the Tories will sting us with a £10k bill if we breach self-isolation rules. But as Lavery implied, another Tory policy (or rather the lack of one) could impact this.

Furlough who?

BBC News reported that the furlough scheme is ending. It said:

Since March, almost 10 million people have been placed on the furlough scheme, which pays the wages of those who cannot work because of coronavirus.

Businesses now have to contribute towards the salaries of their furloughed staff and the scheme is due to end on 31 October.

It also said that:

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has repeatedly ruled out extending the scheme.

So, as Lavery said, people who are already hard up may not want to even know if they have coronavirus. Because having to self-isolate could lead to even more financial distress.

And all this is without other policies.

Policy chaos

For example, the Guardian reported that the ban on evictions that’s been in place is ending on 21 September. As it wrote:

As many as 55,000 private renters are thought to have been given an eviction notice between March and August

These people are now at risk. But as Shelter tweeted, thousands more renters could also be at risk:

If you’re already struggling with rent, are you going to risk a fine, too? Probably not. So again, Lavery’s point about coronavirus test avoidance could ring true.

As The Canary‘s Maryam Jameela reported, there’s also growing concern about universities reopening. But students, some of whom are financially struggling, are also put in a difficult situation by this policy: risk a fine and keep up with their education, or self-isolate and fall behind.

Wealth before health

The government’s way of thinking is a joke. Fining people when they can’t work due to government rules seems ridiculous. As Andrew Fisher said:

But of course, when you have a government more concerned with wealth and not health – prioritising the economy over people’s lives – that’s unlikely to happen.

Featured image via the Labour Party – YouTube and Sky News – YouTube





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