“The role of Labour in this crisis is not primarily to support the government – it is to support lives & livelihoods. The priority for the Labour Party must now be to step up the opposition to the government’s failed strategy & force it to change direction.”Socialist Campaign Group MPs.
With Britain passing the horrific milestone of 100,000 Covid deaths this week, members of the Socialist Campaign Group have called on the Government to adopt the Zero Covid strategy that has effectively eliminated the virus in many Pacific and East Asian countries.
The statement by 30 Parliamentarians says without this urgent change of approach then “then many tens of thousands more Covid deaths are likely.”
The statement also calls on Labour to step up its campaigning for a new public health strategy that will drive virus levels down and for the economic support needed to help people get through this crisis.
The statement says the government: “will only change direction under huge pressure”
It adds “The role of Labour in this crisis is not primarily to support the government – it is to support the lives and livelihoods of the population. The priority for the Labour Party must now be to step up the opposition to the government’s failed strategy and force it to change direction.”
You can read the full statement below:
A ZERO COVID STRATEGY IS NEEDED TO SAVE LIVES
Britain has now passed the horrific milestone of 100,000 Covid deaths – one of the highest death rates of any country in the world.
This huge loss of life is not solely the result of Government incompetence. It is the direct result of the Tory Government refusing to try to eliminate the virus and, instead, trying to “live with the virus” and “balance” the loss of lives and the economy – and failing disastrously on both. Unless the Government urgently changes its approach then many tens of thousands more Covid deaths are likely.
This crisis has deepened pre-existing inequalities in our society with those in lower-paid work and who can’t work from home, Black communities, and those in poorer housing amongst those hit hardest by this crisis.
This scale of Covid deaths was absolutely avoidable. Had the government followed the Zero Covid strategy adopted by numerous countries in East Asia and the Pacific then many thousands of lives would have been saved. In New Zealand, Vietnam and across countries following a Zero Covid plan, the death rate is over a hundred times lower than in the UK. Their societies are reopening safely and their economies are recovering. Members of the Socialist Campaign Group called for a Zero Covid Strategy in a statement on 9 September. It is needed now more than ever
While the vaccines offer real hope, it will be many months until the whole country has been properly vaccinated. We can not continue with months more of this failing strategy. If the virus is once again allowed to spiral out of control, millions more will be infected, putting further strain on the NHS, and risking further dangerous mutations of the virus.
We believe that this Tory Government has shown itself to be completely unwilling to implement the policies needed to save lives and livelihoods. It will only change direction under huge pressure. The role of Labour in this crisis is not primarily to support the government – it is to support the lives and livelihoods of the population. The priority for the Labour Party must now be to step up the opposition to the government’s failed strategy and force it to change direction.
We believe that means stepping up the campaigning for a new public health strategy that will drive virus levels down and for the economic support that can help people get through this crisis.
We call for:
◾ A proper lockdown that lasts as long as needed to drive the number of cases down to the very low levels of last summer so that we can get the virus under control, begin to reopen society safely and finally break the cycle of lockdowns.
◾ An emergency package of financial support that ensures that every single person in our society has a minimum income that guarantees them a decent standard of living so that they can afford to “stay at home” and aren’t pushed into poverty or greater debt as many have been during this crisis.
◾ Statutory Sick Pay to be increased to Real Living Wage levels and available to all workers to ensure everyone can afford to self-isolate.
◾ A program of emergency measures to help people self-isolate, for example, making available free hotel spaces for those living in cramped accommodation.
◾ A comprehensive testing and supported hotel quarantine system for all arrivals to the UK
◾ The lockdown period to be used to fix “Test and Trace” so that when society reopens cases can be targeted and isolated. That means ending the role of the profiteers such as Serco and investing in the NHS so it can deliver this key service.
◾ Schools to reopen only once it is safe to do. The immediate priority must be urgent government action so that all pupils have guaranteed access to a laptop and internet access within days. The Government must be investing now in the measures advocated by the education unions to make schools safe for whenever they reopen.
◾ An urgent statutory public inquiry
◾ Trade unions to be centrally involved in ensuring that all workplaces are safe for workers to return to once the virus is under control.
Diane Abbott MP
Tahir Ali MP
Apsana Begum MP
Christine Blower, House of Lords
Pauline Bryan, House of Lords
Richard Burgon MP
Dawn Butler MP
Ian Byrne MP
Dan Carden MP
Shami Chakrabarti, House of Lords
Katy Clark, House of Lords
Jeremy Corbyn MP
Bryn Davies, House of Lords
Mary Kelly Foy MP
John Hendy, House of Lords
Ian Lavery MP
Rebecca Long-Bailey MP
John McDonnell MP
Ian Mearns MP
Grahame Morris MP
Kate Osborne MP
Bell Ribeiro-Addy MP
Lloyd Russell-Moyle MP
Zarah Sultana MP
Jon Trickett MP
Claudia Webbe MP
Mick Whitley MP
Nadia Whittome MP
Beth Winter MP
Tony Woodley, House of Lords.