Ian Blackford slapped down by Boris Johnson in fiery PMQs clash over coronavirus sick pay
The SNP politician argued that with coronavirus spreading across the world, workers in the UK will be more affected than others in the EU as the statutory sick pay in the UK is £94.25 compared to Germany’s £287. He said: “In Ireland, in response to the coronavirus, the Government has just raised their statutory sick pay to the equivalent of £266 per week. This covers those employed and those self-employed.
“In Germany and Austria, it is £287. In Sweden, it is £230. In the Netherlands, it is £201 and in Spain, it’s 121.
“In the UK, it’s a mere £94.25 per week.”
But the Prime Minister was prompt to point out the UK offers a free national health service to its citizens and residents, unlike many other countries in the EU.
He blasted: “As most members of the House understand, in the UK unlike other countries around the world and certainly in the EU, we have a universal free health system.
“Free at the point of delivery. We have an extensive welfare system.”
The fiery clash comes as coroanvirus fears have swept through the Government after health minister Nadine Dorries was diagnosed with coronavirus.
The MP started feeling unwell last Thursday and would have been shedding viruses for up to two weeks before this time.
The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) said ministers would not need to undergo testing as Public Health England (PHE) worked to advise those who have been in close contact with Ms Dorries.
PHE said it had assessed the risk of Ms Dorries’ individual close contacts and only those with symptoms need to self-isolate.
For each Covid-19 case, a risk assessment is carried out and advice tailored to that group, a spokeswoman said.
Labour MP for York Central Rachael Maskell said she is self-isolating on the advice of 111 following a meeting with the health minister last Thursday.
It comes as a 53-year-old British woman was reported to have died from Covid-19 in Indonesia, with the Foreign Office offering support to her family.
Ms Maskell tweeted: “NHS111 have advised that I self-isolate as a result of a meeting I had with the Government’s Mental Health Minister last Thursday who has subsequently tested positive for Coronavirus. Thankfully I am asymptomatic. It is so important that we all follow all public health advice.”
Ms Maskell told the PA news agency that just herself, Ms Dorries and members of the minister’s staff were present at the meeting on Thursday.
She said: “I’m absolutely fine, obviously it’s frustrating because there are things I want to get on with.
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“I’m just planning on making more phone calls, more working online. I’m not going to be bored, put it that way.”
A Conservative MP also confirmed to PA that Ms Dorries had sent a message to the Tory WhatsApp group saying that a member of her staff is ill.
Ms Dorries’ office in the Commons remains closed following advice from PHE for it to stay shut.
In a statement on Tuesday night, Ms Dorries said: “As soon as I was informed I took all the advised precautions and have been self-isolating at home.
“Public Health England has started detailed contact tracing and the department and my parliamentary office are closely following their advice.”
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