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The Prime Minister wants to pay for this crisis on the backs of the working class – Richard Burgon challenges Boris Johnson.

“Would it not be fairer to impose a windfall tax on the wealth of the super-rich & those who have made super-profits out of the covid crisis?”

Richard Burgon MP.

By the Labour Assembly Against Austerity Team

“Real-terms pay cuts for millions of public sector workers, an insulting 37p increase in benefit levels and broken promises on minimum wage increases show that the Prime Minister wants to pay for this crisis on the backs of the working class.” That was what Leeds Labour MP, Richard Burgon, secretary of the Socialist Campaign Group, put to Boris Johnson at Prime Ministers Questions.

The previous day Burgon had urged the Labour frontbench to take up the fight to end the financial penalisation for those self-isolating with a living wage sick pay.

Writing for Labourlist, he said, “This virus thrives on poverty and inequality. Without proper support, many people from disadvantaged groups – who could be the sole breadwinners in their families – may simply avoid these tests for fear of the economic impact of being found to be positive.”

Backing the TUC call for statutory sick pay to be increased to real living wage levels – around £330 per week – Burgon cited the vote on new covid restrictions tiers last week as the moment that Labour should have pressured the government to deliver improvements to sick pay.

His demand that the Labour leadership exploit Tory divisions to expose the governments economic assault on those with lowest incomes – and to demand it targets those best able to bear the cost, is one all activists should raise in discussion, whether that is fighting the pay freeze, inadequate living wage increase, or benefit cuts.

Concluding at PMQs Burgon followed up with his own proposal of how to make good the financial impact of the pandemic, stating, “Would it not be fairer to impose a windfall tax on the wealth of the super-rich and on those who have made super-profits out of the covid crisis, including those who won contracts because of their links to top Tories?”

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