Tue 10 Mar, 2020

In the face of the Coronavirus (Covid 19) outbreak the Chancellor of the Exchequer must announce measures to support private tenants and those in precarious work when he outlines his budget to parliament tomorrow, says Scottish Greens Co-Leader Patrick Harvie MSP.

People who are symptomatic and have travelled to affected regions such as Italy, where 463 people are thought to have died from the virus, have been advised to self-isolate and Mr Harvie has raised concerns that this will potentially hit people in precarious employment, such as those on zero hours contracts, hardest.

The Irish Government has recently announced a €2.4 billion initiative to increase sick pay, while the Italian Government has set out how it will suspend mortgage payments to support those impacted by the lockdown. RBS has today announced that it will waive some mortgage payments for homeowners affected by coronavirus.

Patrick Harvie MSP said:

“The Chancellor must use his budget to deliver support to those for whom isolating will cause the greatest hardship. For those on zero hours contracts, and many who are ostensibly self-employed, taking the decision to self-isolate in the face of this virus could potentially plunge them into hardship.

“Measures to reassure those who feel conflicted about isolating that they will be supported financially to do so could have a huge impact in halting, or at least slowing, the spread of coronavirus. We have already seen several measures implemented across Europe with Ireland improving sick pay provision and Italy suspending mortgage payments.

“It is incumbent on the UK Government to ensure that those on zero hours contracts, private tenants, and those paying mortgages aren’t forced into adversity if they seek to do the right thing.

“It should not be down to the lottery of who your mortgage provider is as to whether or not you receive support.”

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