This is absolutely despicable:
A “perfect storm” of low wages, cramped housing and failures of the £22bn test-and-trace scheme has led to “stubbornly high” coronavirus rates in England’s most deprived communities, an unpublished government report has found.
A classified analysis by the Joint Biosecurity Centre (JBC), produced last month, concluded that “unmet financial needs” meant people in poorer areas were less likely to be able to self-isolate because they could not afford to lose income.
In two of the UK’s worst-hit areas, Blackburn-with-Darwen and Leicester, the study found that more people seeking financial help to self-isolate had been rejected than accepted. It said: “This could increase the likelihood for individuals to be unable to comply with self-isolation requirements as a result of their unmet needs.”
The report, marked “Official Sensitive”, and seen by the Guardian, will pile pressure on ministers to improve government support for the millions of people who do not currently qualify when they are ordered by law to quarantine at home. Dido Harding, the head of NHS test and trace, has estimated that at least 20,000 people a day are not complying fully with isolation orders, allowing the virus to spread.
So: people are on lower incomes because Tory policies have pushed wages down.
Now, when they desperately need government help to bridge the gap between their earnings (or 80 per cent of them if these people are on the furlough scheme) and their needs, they find the government has turned its collective back.
(It seems it has far too many crony companies to subsidise, in return for no service at all; Dido Harding, mentioned in the Guardian article, knows all about that.)
So they find they can’t comply with orders to self-isolate; in order to feed themselves and their children, they have to keep going to work.
Then they return home, where poverty means they have to live in homes that are too small for the number of people in their families, and – if they’ve contracted the virus – they pass it on very easily.
It is a complication of the Covid crisis that has been created entirely by Conservative governments.
No wonder they haven’t published the damning report.
Of course, without the fairly essential piece of knowledge that wages have been pushed down by the Tories, this story could be damning against the poor victims instead.
I’m sure you can picture the headlines in the yellow press (The Mail, The Express, The Sun): Greedy grafters ignore experts to spread killer Covid or some such twaddle.
The report remains unpublished at the time of writing (to the best of my knowledge) so I don’t think for a moment that Boris Johnson and his ghouls will feel any need to improve government support for people who are told to self-isolate.
It’ll be interesting to see whether they try to condemn the people they have impoverished, though.
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