The UK Government’s coronavirus advice will see me and my partner out of work – we need help now

Photo by Evan Wise on Unsplash

Bleddyn Williams

COVID-19, or Coronavirus as many of you know it, is quickly changing the way we live our lives. It doesn’t matter if that means you’re out panic buying toilet rolls or being forced into self-isolation to keep people safe.

Yesterday (Monday 16th March), saw the first death here in Wales, and countless many others in the rest of the UK before that, and yet, no serious action is being taken by either the Welsh Government or Westminster.

This virus has seen countless countries close their borders, and France has even gone above and beyond to help ease the financial burden on the people of their country, by abolishing rents and taxes until further notice.

The only advice we’ve received from Westminster so far is to stay at home if we’re ill, sing Happy Birthday as you wash your hands and stay away from pubs, restaurants and theatres.

This is advice that has been reiterated in parrot-fashion by First Minister, Mark Drakeford. And this is where my issue lies.

My girlfriend and myself have a three-year-old son. I work in a restaurant, and she works in a cinema. If, going by the advice of the UK and Welsh Governments, people avoid both of these establishments, this would see us as a couple both out of work. At present, our finances are not the most stable, and on top of that, we have our son to support.

In the event of our respective businesses being forced to close, we will be receiving no income, and it’s about time one of the Governments, be it the UK or Welsh, step in, just as France have done, and introduce measures to help the people like us.

What is even worse about this whole situation, our son’s nursery is currently still open. In the event that he manages to contract COVID-19 whilst there, we would be forced to self isolate. This is also a situation we as a family can not afford to be in.

 

Guarantee

We have already heard that some of the biggest hotel chains, pubs and restaurants might not survive for much longer due to the economic impact of the Covid-19 outbreak. That would mean hundreds of thousands of people in the same situation as us.

Given the uncertainty coming from the government, many of these businesses will already be gearing up for huge cuts in staff over the next few months, just to be on the safe side.

In times of uncertainty, such as this, we need to be shown strong leadership, which we are currently not seeing from Boris Johnson or Mark Drakeford. It time for them both to act, because the number of deaths caused by their inaction will continue to grow.

If the UK Government is to wash its hands of us, then the Welsh Government should stop passing the buck to Westminster and take action itself.

Labour have promised to ‘stand up for Wales’ at election after election and this crisis will be the ultimate test of whether devolution is a shield to protect Wales’ citizens for the worst, or a doormat to walk over.

We need guarantees of income if we are forced out of work. We need temporary closures for schools to help keep our children safe. We need testing so that people know if they are carrying the virus or not. We need our leaders to start treating the people that they are elected to serve as actual humans, who are at risk of losing their lives if nothing is done soon.

It is already too late – please don’t leave it any longer.

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Ernie The Smallholderj humphrysJonathan GammondHuw J DaviesEos Pengwern Recent comment authors
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Sion
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Sion

We should all send a copy of this to Boris Johnson and the puppet in Cardiff .

Plain citizen
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Plain citizen

You say you want strong leadership and the Welsh govt should ignore Westminster inaction and take action itself. What action exactly? Close schools and hospitals to stop paying teachers and health workers so it can pay you and your partner not to go to your restaurant or cinema to work.
You are naturally driven by emotion asking for others to bail you out having been lead to believe other taxpayers (ie the government) will always want to help so you don’t need to save or plan for the future.

Huw J Davies
Guest
Huw J Davies

Isn’t the writer just foreseeing what is likely to happen to, possibly, hundreds of thousands of people nationwide? Disappearance of the UK’s main employers with widespread unemployment. You have an almost Marie Antoinette indifference/ignorance to how life is for most ‘ordinary’ folk. At least Bleddyn Williams and his partner are working, not surviving on state handouts. You sound like you would be happier if they end up unemployed and claiming benefits! Plain Citizen seems an ironic choice of nom de plume as you clearly have little in common with most plain citizens. You seem smugly content for us to return… Read more »

Glyn willacot
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Glyn willacot

Here’s hoping the UK government will this time that WE are all in Together and make sure nobody is out of a job/financial difficulty and when it’s back to normal and they need to recoup the money they tax the richest heavily

Thomas Moseley
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Thomas Moseley

I do not think the UK govt knows what it is doing. I am a haemodialysis patient, 83 years old. If I am not allowed to go to the dialysis unit as the BBC reported this morning I will be a secondary casualty of Covid 19. Do I just give in and die? Advice would be welcomed!

Peter Hughes
Guest
Peter Hughes

What kind of sanctimonious @rsehole are you? Hundreds of thousands of Welsh workers are working in low-paid and often insecure jobs. Are you really saying they shouldn’t be having kids?

Mathew Rees
Guest
Mathew Rees

If you can’t feed them don’t breed them.

I would love to have children but I can’t afford them so I did the right thing.

j humphrys
Guest
j humphrys

Short term layoffs should be covered by three quarters pay from the Welsh Gov.
(They seem to have bucketloads to splash out for the notorious third sector.)

Mathew Rees
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Mathew Rees

Hopefully the entire sh*tshow will be suspended.

John Evans
Guest
John Evans

you obviously weren’t trying hard enough. To be made redundant is a misfortune. To be made redundant 3 times in 5 years looks like carelessness.

Mathew Rees
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Mathew Rees

This was during the financial crisis of 2008-2010.

I was one of the lucky ones.

David
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David

The new Welsh political party, Gwlad Gwlad has in their manifesto – A Citizen Income for ALL citizens. But, firstly we need the electorate to vote for Welsh Independence.

Plain citizen
Guest
Plain citizen

Where are the funds going to come from for this? Are you suggesting pensions and benefits cuts should fund it or sack teachers and nurses and close schools and hospitals?
Please let us know as intellectual giants like you are what Wales needs.

j humphrys
Guest
j humphrys

Google ; A Citizens Income For Wales. (Gwlad Gwlad) for details.

Eos Pengwern
Guest

Here’s the link to the article mentioned by j humphrys: https://gwlad.org/en/2018/11/29/english-a-citizens-income-for-wales/ The short answer to the question – which is a perfectly legitimate one to ask – is that we don’t advocate a Citizens’ Income in isolation, but in combination with a Flat Tax (i.e. everyone pays the same rate on all their income, eliminating allowances and ‘bands’). When you do the sums you find that for people in work the two things offset each other quite accurately, so that it’s fiscally neutral – the ‘net’ amount of tax paid by people in work would be almost exactly what it… Read more »

Ernie The Smallholder
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Ernie The Smallholder

That is because the UK government who took OUR taxes and NI pension contributions did not invest them in useful investments such as global equity investment trusts.
The UK government gave away profitable assets such as BT, British Gas, Electricity companies at a discount, people bought those shares but sold them on largely to the bankers and oligarchs.
We, the people having bought the shares should have kept the shares and bought more shares as a safeguard investment – the income would see them through the future. Diversification is key.

Kerry Davies
Guest
Kerry Davies

This raises more questions than answers. Is the writer one of the very few who voted for benefits to be a devolved matter? Did they previously support tax raising powers for the Senedd? Were they willing to increase their own income tax or NI so that the Senedd could build up an emergency fund? Were they always socialist or were they happy to be a Tory when they were being asked for cash for the less fortunate? Crises like this one have a habit of sorting sheep from goats and working miraculous, though very short lived, political conversions. Let us… Read more »

Ann Owen
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Ann Owen

Efo ti 100% ar hyn, diolch Bleddyn . Mae cymaint o rai hunan-gyflogedig yn yr un twll.

Rhosddu
Guest
Rhosddu

That nice Indian Chancellor says he’s going to dish out 300 billion quid, so maybe Bleddyn ac ei wraig will be elligible for a portion until it’s “business as usual”, hopefully in the summer. Am I mistaken, or isn’t that money intended to keep businesses afloat so they can pay their staff during that business’s period of financial limbo? Fortunately, there’s never been a shortage of community spiirit in Cymru, so maybe it’s an appropriate time for his friends and neighbours to step up to the plate. But, yes, the actual self-employed are going to be in queer street for… Read more »

max wallis
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max wallis

the instruction to self-isolate if one family member gets a cough is stupidly disruptive for 14 days.
A quick test would show 80% of the cases are not COVID-19 so carry on normal work.

Rhosddu
Guest
Rhosddu

Syniad da, but the trouble is, only 0.0006% of the UK population have been tested so far, and the UK Government don’t seem to be committing themselves to large-scale testing.

Huw J Davies
Guest
Huw J Davies

Not that easy, I’m afraid, Max! According to PHE, 15 March, ‘COVID-19: rapid tests for use in community pharmacies or at home.’ The bottom line comment for me was “It is not known whether either a positive or negative result is reliable”. So they don’t know whether the quick tests are accurate or not. One rapid testing kit, awaiting FDA approval in the USA (https://www.biomedomics.com/products/infectious-disease/covid-19-rt/), seems to give a positive result for 1 in 10 who aren’t infected but also gave a negative result in 11% who had path lab proven SARS-CoV-2 infection . They still don’t know how people’s… Read more »

Andrew Murphy
Guest
Andrew Murphy

Bleddyn is absolutely right in the points he makes and despite the usual Tory/Unionist out cries is not asking for handouts but asking that The UKand or labour Government in Wales gets a grip of the economic and personal reality of this situation and show some leadership and direction in protecting businesses and employees , is that too much to expect. Let’s be absolutely clear Labour in Wales are not independent of Westminster they feebly tow UK government lines, no matter the party in power, in almost every aspect, add to that their total incompetence and it has proved to… Read more »

Huw Davies
Guest
Huw Davies

My comment on Tegid R ‘s article is just as valid on this article. It refers to the speed with which corporate leaders leap to demand state aid. Is there something inherently good about helping big business yet unjustified in helping individuals, many on low incomes, who lose out in the same crisis ? I don’t think so. The item reads as follows – “Those same airlines whose chiefs are probably still drawing eye watering salaries for doing not a lot other than passing the grief ( not sharing it) down to their teams of staff. There is something quite… Read more »

j humphrys
Guest
j humphrys

Timely comment, Hugh, as Conte has just said he’s going to re-nationalise Alitalia.
Popular policies in Cymru would be to re-nationalise Rail, Water, and Power.

Plain citizen
Guest
Plain citizen

What really irritates is when a company boss or owner demands aid from the UK taxpayer having saddled their company with debt so massive dividends can be paid often to offshore entities. These offshore entities therefore pay no tax to the uk for the benefit of the taxpayers who are now expected to gift them massive handouts!

Huw J Davies
Guest
Huw J Davies

At least we agree on something!

j humphrys
Guest
j humphrys

Well, that was the real reason for Brexit. To avoid the new EU investigation of tax avoidance. David Cameron fought with his European colleagues to avoid this, then called the referendum, hence his humming a happy tune after his public resignation announcement in Downing St, but caught by the open microphone. Boris won’t hunt the offshore’s when all his mates run them.
I personally don’t mind being poor as long as we have honest and open government in Cymru.
Of course, the goal is to make us prosper, and the way to do it, is to do it ourselves.

Jonathan Gammond
Guest
Jonathan Gammond

If the Government can organize a three month extendable mortgage holiday then it should be able to decide on three month extendable no rents policy. Both are fixed costs that be removed without leading to overconsumption and the waste of resources.