Tag Archives: help

Why is JEREMY HUNT doing more to demand help for working people to self-isolate than KEIR STARMER?

What’s wrong with this situation: the former Tory health secretary is doing more to demand financial support for people, who can’t otherwise afford to self-isolate with Covid-19 symptoms, than Labour Party leader Keir Starmer.

Read this:

The point is well made. Hunt has written a Twitter thread explaining the problem as he sees it, while Starmer has been sitting at home – self-isolating for a third time because he can afford it! – on his thumbs.

Here’s what Hunt said:

He’s not wrong, is he?

And he’s winning a lot of praise for it.

But, good as his points are, there’s an answer that trumps them.

It refers to the reason people can’t afford to self-isolate as matters stand at the moment.

Here it is:

It’s true. And we must remember that Jeremy Hunt was the Health Secretary at the time of Operation Cygnus, which demonstrated that the NHS would be overwhelmed if a pandemic infection happened – and he did absolutely nothing to rectify the situation.

So, while it is welcome that he is tinkering around the edges of it, we should remember that Hunt helped cause the wider problem in the first place.

Right?

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Sunak’s daft ‘Eat Out to Die Out’ caused one in six Covid OUTBREAKS, study finds

Rishi Sunak: his plan to get people eating out over the summer by offering discounts on meals should have been called Eat Out to DIE Out.

He didn’t even help hospitality businesses very much, either.

Tory Chancellor Rishi Sunak made certain that thousands more people caught Covid-19 than would otherwise have done so, with his Eat Out to Help Out scheme.

Research by the University of Warwick has shown that the initiative is likely to blame for 17 per cent of infections – one in six outbreaks – between August and early September (when it was overtaken by outbreaks linked to schools that had reopened at Boris Johnson and Dominic Raab’s insistence, we may conclude).

Even the Daily Mail has turned on the Tories over this one:

Although people had to socially distance in restaurants where the deal was offered, the virus is known to spread more easily indoors and thrives particularly in enclosed spaces.

Many people met people from other households for dinner and also used public transport to get to and from the restaurants, driving up the risk of transmission.

Research from the university suggested that between eight and 17 per cent of newly detected infection clusters could be linked to the scheme.

Areas where there was a high uptake of Eat Out to Help Out also saw a decline in new infections a week after the scheme drew to a close.

People will have died from catching the virus after taking part in Sunak’s crackpot plan.

But nobody has been asking him any hard questions!

Isn’t it time these Tories took responsibility for the fatal consequences of their decisions and left public life for good, under a cloud of shame?

Source: Eat Out to Help Out to blame for 1 in 6 new coronavirus infections | Daily Mail Online

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Plaudits for Naga Munchetty after she demolishes Zahawi over help for the self-employed

A few facts about Nadhim Zahawi, the current UK business minister: these are from 2016 so it’s a few years since he voted to cut disability benefits but that cut is still in force. I wonder how warm his stables are today?

Naga Munchetty is carving herself a niche as the hard woman of BBC Breakfast.

This morning she made mincemeat out of Tory business minister and twit Nadhim Zahawi over the government’s lack of interest in supporting people who are self-employed:

The performance raised a huge amount of support for Ms Munchetty on the social media:

At this rate, the Tories won’t be able to use the BBC as a mouthpiece for their daft policies any more. Then where will they go?

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Arrogant Dorries rejects cross-party talks to help mental health of NHS & care staff – EIGHT TIMES

Nadine Dorries: Wrong again.

The health minister who is so stupid she said the November lockdown in England could only have been predicted with a crystal ball has struck again.

There’s a reason we call Nadine Dorries “Mad Nad”.

Over the weekend, the woman widely considered to be the stupidist Tory MP – against stiff competition! – admitted that she did not understand the information being received and used by her own department of government; SAGE had demanded a lockdown in September.

Now she has demonstrated that she does not understand that her government’s failure to get to grips with the Covid crisis in any meaningful way over a period of nearly a year is having a devastating effect on the mental health of people working in the NHS and in the care sector.

Labour MP Doctor Rosena Allin-Khan does – and appealed to Dorries no fewer than eight times to join with her in devising a mental health package that has cross-party support. Dorries rejected it in a manner that belittled not only herself but her entire miserable government:

Condemnation has rained down on Dorries from all sides:

It won’t have any effect, though.

I say that not because the Johnson government has a huge Parliamentary majority – granted to it by a population that was desperate to resolve the Brexit crisis that the Tories had created and gulled by rabidly right-wing mass media into thinking the Tories were the only party that could provide a solution (which is lunacy, if you think about it for just one moment).

The reason condemnation won’t work on Tories like Dorries can be summed up in a simple, well-known saying:

No sense, no feeling.

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Support nurses’ campaign for fair pay!

A nurse: doesn’t this person deserve fair pay, after working to keep us all safe from Covid-19 for the last six months – and facing what could be a much worse period in the immediate future?

Yes, that means you!

The Royal College of Nursing has launched a campaign to pressure the government into paying nursing staff what they’re worth. Here’s what’s happening and how you can get involved:

The RCN wants nursing professionals to be valued for their high level of knowledge, expertise and skills with pay that reflects the complexity of their roles and the impact of their work.

This means campaigning for an early and significant pay rise for NHS staff and influencing independent health and social care employers, so they recognise and reward nursing staff properly.

That would involve a fully funded 12.5 per cent pay increase for all NHS nursing staff covered by Agenda for Change, as part of a one-year deal that applies equally to all bands.

That’s right – an increase of one-eighth of wages for all nurses. When the Tories recently mentioned large-sounding pay rises, they only applied to a tiny proportion of staff; most nurses got around one per cent – less than inflation.

The Fair Pay for Nursing campaign is about recognising the complexity of skill, responsibility and expertise demonstrated every day by nursing support workers, nursing associates, registered nurses and all members of the profession. It is about making sure that a safety critical profession can reach safe staffing levels and fill tens of thousands of unfilled nursing jobs. Ultimately, it is about providing safe and effective care for all people of the UK.

And you can help.

1. Find out more about the pay campaign and what it seeks to do.

2. Spread the word about it on social media using #FairPayForNursing, sharing your thoughts on why nursing staff deserve a fair pay rise.

3. Speak to family, friends, patients and colleagues about why you believe nursing staff deserve an early and significant pay rise.

Source: Demanding fair pay for nursing now | Bulletin | Royal College of Nursing

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Was ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ really meant to help super-rich Tories get cheap meals at the taxpayer’s expense?

Nadhim Zahawi: this image from a few years ago highlighted his choice to strip people with disabilities of much-needed benefits while guzzling taxpayers’ money in expenses claims. Now fat Nadhim is using our money to guzzle cheap restaurant meals too.

It seems the chief beneficiaries of Rishi Sunak’s ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ scheme are… his fellow Conservative MPs.

Here’s a tweet from multi-millionaire Jeremy Hunt, confirming that he has been using public money to subsidise a meal:

For all we know, he may have claimed the rest of the cost on expenses…

Also vowing to take full advantage of the public – I mean, public money being put up for the scheme – was another Tory multi-millionaire, Nadhim Zahawi, who told BBC Breakfast:

“I’m looking forward to going out and using the Eat Out to Help Out scheme to make sure me and my family enjoy a nice meal over those few days.”

Asked if he will be having a half price meal, Mr Zahawi said: “I’ll be going out and helping those restaurants in Stratford-on-Avon, in London, wherever I can, of course. I think it’s the right thing to do.”

Asked if he could choose to pay full price, he replied: “Well… It’s worth all of us going out and if the Government is supporting the sector, why not?”

It’s exactly as some of us predicted – while poor people starve under the privations forced on them by the Tories’ ridiculous Covid-19 policies, the super-rich are stuffing themselves silly and charging it to the taxpayer.

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Scotland joins Wales to ban Covid-19 support to firms based in tax havens

Registered in a tax haven? Then no tax-funded help for you: there’s no reason the UK should give tax-dodging firms a hand during the coronavirus crisis if they haven’t paid their full dues. Wales and Scotland have made this clear; let’s see Westminster do the same.

Quite right too. If you’ve opted out of paying tax when the going was easy, then you can’t try to get help from the taxpayer in hard times.

Has the Tory government in Westminster made this decision yet?

The Scottish parliament has voted to block companies based in tax havens from using millions of pounds in coronavirus relief funding, in emergency legislation.

MSPs approved measures on Wednesday night brokered by the Scottish Greens to prohibit firms or individuals who are registered in tax havens, or are a subsidiary of an offshore company, from getting support grants.

The vote follows similar decisions by the Welsh government last week and by other EU member states, including Denmark and France, but ministers have yet to say how much Scottish government spending will be affected or how it will be enforced.

It is thought it could prevent companies with offshore links from applying to a new £120m enterprise resilience fund that provides grants for small- and medium-sized firms, and a £30m creative, tourism and hospitality bailout fund for firms that cannot get business rates relief.

The Welsh government blocked companies with headquarters in a tax haven from accessing its £500m economic resilience fund on 15 May. Ministers in Cardiff said last week it would affect a small number of companies.

Source: Scotland bans Covid-19 support to firms based in tax havens | Politics | The Guardian

Coronavirus: where’s the help for domestic abuse victims during lockdown?

Behind closed doors: abusers could be having the time of their life in the lockdown. What is the Tory government doing to protect victims?

Labour’s new Shadow Home Secretary is right on this.

But let’s not be too praising just yet; there has been a lot of concern about domestic abuse victims in the media, after the lockdown was announced. And for a very good reason.

After all, it was – potentially, at least – locking victims in with their abusers for periods of weeks at a time.

The “pressure cooker” effect has created increased demand for charity aid, with helplines and online advice sites raising concern.

Priti Patel, the Home Secretary, has said victims of domestic abuse and child sexual abuse have not been forgotten – but she appears to have done nothing to help them.

What are they supposed to do?

Organisations providing domestic abuse support services during the Covid-19 crisis must get an emergency financial package from the government, the new shadow home secretary has said in his first intervention in the role.

Nick Thomas-Symonds, who was appointed to the shadow cabinet by the new Labour leader Keir Starmer on Sunday, has written to his Conservative counterpart Priti Patel to request funds for organisations that run “frontline” domestic abuse services, as well as to turn underused hotel chains and university halls into emergency accommodation.

Source: Labour urges emergency aid for domestic abuse services | Society | The Guardian

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Coronavirus: thousands of people have been omitted from government ‘high risk’ list

Infection risk: If people with cancers, asthma and other conditions are having to go out for shopping, or people living with them are, then they are still under risk of infection. And they are dying.

Is this the reason people with severe health issues are missing out on shopping deliveries from supermarkets and other priority services in the coronavirus crisis?

Read for yourself:

Thousands of people have been missed off the government’s high risk list for Covid-19 despite meeting the criteria.

Among them have been transplant patients, people with asthma and some with rare lung diseases.

Many are worried it will affect their ability to access food and medical supplies as they shield from the virus, unable to leave their homes for at least 12 weeks.

Supermarkets have been using the list to give priority to vulnerable customers, meaning those not included have already missed out on opportunities for which they would have been eligible.

NHS England provides a list of people who should be “shielded” from exposure to the coronavirus. It includes:

  • Solid organ transplant recipients

People with specific cancers:

  • people with cancer who are undergoing active chemotherapy
  • people with lung cancer who are undergoing radical radiotherapy
  • people with cancers of the blood or bone marrow such as leukaemia, lymphoma or myeloma who are at any stage of treatment
  • people having immunotherapy or other continuing antibody treatments for cancer
  • people having other targeted cancer treatments which can affect the immune system, such as protein kinase inhibitors or PARP inhibitors
  • people who have had bone marrow or stem cell transplants in the last six months, or who are still taking immunosuppression drugs

Other conditions:

  • People with severe respiratory conditions including all cystic fibrosis, severe asthma and severe COPD
  • People with rare diseases and inborn errors of metabolism that significantly increase the risk of infections (such as SCID, homozygous sickle cell)
  • People on immunosuppression therapies sufficient to significantly increase risk of infection
  • Women who are pregnant with significant heart disease, congenital or acquired

This Writer’s brother has had myeloma and has been ordered not to leave his home at any time, for any reason. But he hasn’t heard a dicky bird about help from supermarkets.

Mrs Mike’s best friend has four children, three of whom have asthma. They haven’t heard anything about extra help because of their conditions.

And I see online that people with asthma are dying:

Lindsay Marshall had self-isolated for one week but on March 22, she started to feel unwell and was taken to Fairfield General Hospital in Bury where she tested positive for the coronavirus.

Three days later, she was sedated and transferred to the intensive care unit at Royal Oldham Hospital, where she died on Saturday (April 4).

It seems clear that people with such conditions are in more danger but the government is increasing the risk by keeping them off the list of people deserving extra help.

Why?

Source: Coronavirus: ‘High risk’ list misses off thousands of people – BBC News

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Chancellor’s ‘jam tomorrow’ package for the self-employed is worse than useless now

Rishi Sunak: still discriminating against the self-employed? Why not just bring in Universal Basic Income? Then we can all relax.

How kind of Rishi Sunak to announce aid for self-employed workers who are likely to lose money because of the coronavirus crisis – except he didn’t did he?

He made a vague promise that we (This Writer is self-employed) might be able to get a grant of up to 80 per cent of our profits, which is taxable, up to a maximum of £2,500 per month – but not until at least the beginning of June, more than two months from now.

Oh, but we can claim Universal Credit in the meantime – except we can’t, because thousands upon thousands of people are queuing online and on the phone and the Department for Work and Pensions simply can’t cope with the deluge. We will lose valuable time just trying to announce that we want to claim, and even more in the processing of that claim.

Employees of companies who signed up to the government’s scheme for them can get their money straight away. Why not the self-employed?

Is this some back-handed attack on people who actually contribute to the economy on their own initiative?

Here’s a visual representation of the way Sunak and the Tories expect us to live:

It has already attracted flack.

Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell said the delay was unacceptable: “If people cannot get access to the scheme until June it will simply be too late for millions. People need support in the coming days and fortnight. Asking people to rely on Universal Credit when more than 130,000 people are queuing online will be worrying to many people, so there is a real risk that without support until June the self-employed will feel they have to keep working, putting their own and others’ health at risk.”

Stephen Timms, chair of the Commons Work and Pensions Committee, pointed out that a wait until June simply isn’t practical: “Few will have enough in the bank to tide them over until then, so they’ll have to rely on Universal Credit in the meantime. The Committee heard yesterday that that system is already buckling under the pressure of half a million new claims. The Government must now do all it can to shore it up, so people get the money they need, and quickly. And the Advance, payable up-front to those who need it, should be made non-repayable.”

Sunak said devising a scheme had been “difficult” and it would be “operationally complicated” – but this has attracted no sympathy from anybody who knows anything at all about it.

It’s the biggest advert for implementing a Universal Basic Income scheme – in which everybody will receive enough money to support them, regardless of their circumstances – that the public could be shown.

Sunak and the other Tories have squirmed and dissembled and eventually brought forward scheme after scheme that is incredibly complicated – which means they are likely to go wrong, to the detriment of the people they are supposed to be helping.

UBI is simplicity itself – and has a lot of support:

UBI – it’s simple, it’s popular, and it’s immediate. But Sunak wants to bring in something complicated, slow (if it actually happens at all) and discriminatory. Why not get in touch with him and tell him which you would prefer?

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Health Warning: Government! is now available
in either print or eBook format here:

HWG PrintHWG eBook

The first collection, Strong Words and Hard Times,
is still available in either print or eBook format here:

SWAHTprint SWAHTeBook