Millionaire Chancellor Rishi Sunak has refused to say if the UK’s £95 a week sick pay rate is enough to live on as Labour urged the top Tory to put himself in the shoes of low paid workers who face choosing between rent and food if they’re forced into self-isolation.
And he was urged to extend the paltry sick pay rate, which is given to some workers who are told to isolate for 10 to 14 days due to COVID 19 and it comes after claims the Chancellor himself was blocking attempts to raise the sick pay rate.
Shadow Chancellor Annelise Dodds told the Commons: “Can he put himself in the shoes of those low-paid workers, who often have to choose between paying the rent and the bills or putting food onto the table for their kids?
“Surely the Chancellor must agree with the Secretary of State for Health that Statutory Sick Pay is not enough to live on?”
But Rishi Sunak refused to respond to the question but upheld the Government’s position and he said that since the start of the pandemic, they have made changes to the operation of Statutory Sick Pay to ensure that those who were isolating received help from day one.
He stated that they’ve improved the flexibility for those who are self-employed by removing the minimum income floor and he said: “And as the Honourable Lady knows we are trialling incentive payments in local lockdown areas.”
Shadow Chancellor Annelise Dodds also criticised Rishi Sunak after he failed to answer if he was planning tax rises before the end of 2020.
Annelise Dodds said to the Chancellor that he was asked a simple yes or no question about whether he would rule out announcing new tax rises this year, and he failed to respond to it.
She continued that it only fueled speculation that he wants to hike taxes now just so he could cut them before the next election and that he’s playing politics with people’s jobs and livelihoods.
She further said the Chancellor should be focused relentlessly on projecting jobs, not floating a tax and cuts agenda that could strangle our national recovery just when the economy is at its most vulnerable.
And on Rishi Sunak’s failure to ensure he could survive on sick pay, she added that they already know the Health Secretary doesn’t believe UK sick pay is enough to live on, although it’s a bit of a ridiculous question because we all know that if you didn’t have any outgoings, then perhaps you might get by.
However, if someone has a mortgage of £1K a month, then no they couldn’t conceivably get by, but of course, the point of payments like this is to help with outgoings, not to cover them completely.
This is the ‘rainy day’ that we’re all supposed to put aside for, but most people these days just don’t have enough money coming in to do that, all people are doing these days is keeping their heads above water.
Perhaps Rishi Sunak wants them to sell things that they’ve laboured hard for, to keep themselves going? Barely seems worth working at all in that case and perhaps Rishi Sunak could live on £95 an hour, but he definitely couldn’t live on £95 a week, but then he doesn’t have to, does he?
And he won’t say yes because he’d be called a fool and he won’t say no because then that would be like admitting he’s heartless and politicians never answer yes or no because they prefer to obscure.