Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said: “There's not just a health and economic crisis engulfing this country.  Job insecurity and low incomes are endemic, too.

"These tough new tier restrictions across most of England will not be successful unless the government puts a floor underneath workers' incomes so that they can support this fresh effort to defeat the virus. 

"Ministers knew full well that these restrictions were coming so the absence in yesterday's CSR of any uplift on statutory sick pay to a level that people can live on, and where all workers who need it receive it, is a serious dereliction of duty.  

"I call upon the chancellor to head back to the Commons immediately and announce that sick pay will be raised to a living level and that the self-employed and lowest paid will qualify too.

“The misery of this virus will roll on for workers, industries and communities unless, once and for all, the government sorts out the mess it's made of ‘test and trace’, turning to local authority health professionals who know their communities inside out, not private sector mates using some remote call centre.  

“There also needs to be an enhanced financial support package for struggling industries like hospitality sector. Its future is hanging by a thread and their staff face the prospect of the dole queue in the new year.

“It is simply not good enough for Boris Johnson and his ministers to hang on for the vaccine to come to the rescue.  Our communities and people can’t wait that long.  They are taking a hammering right now and need and deserve help right now."

 Notes to editors:

For more information please contact Unite senior communications officer Shaun Noble on 020 3371 2060 or 07768 693940. Unite press office is on:  020 3371 2065.

Please note the numbers above are for journalists’ enquiries only.

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @unitetheunion Facebook: unitetheunion1 Web: unitetheunion.org 

Unite is Britain and Ireland’s largest union with members working across all sectors of the economy. The general secretary is Len McCluskey.