Coventry MP demands far-reaching measures to combat coronavirus

Zarah Sultana MP for Coventry South urged the government to “guarantee economic security for everyone” in the face of the coronavirus outbreak.

Zarah Sultana, the MP for Coventry South, on Monday, demanded the government enact far-reaching economic measures to “protect the working class from the worst effects of the coronavirus outbreak.”

Ms Sultana was speaking in the House of Commons on a debate about the government’s budget.

The MP called for a “plan that puts people before profit and public health before private property”, suggesting a Denmark-style alternative, where the government has negotiated a deal between trade unions and employers to protect wages and prevent layoffs.

We must “guarantee economic security for everyone”, said the MP. The measures she demanded included:

  • decent statutory sick pay for all workers;
  • a suspension to rent, mortgage and utility payments for anyone affected;
  • the requisition of private hospitals for the NHS, rent-free;
  • and scrapping the Universal Credit 5-week wait, an uplift in its payments, and a suspension to all sanctions.

Ms Sultana described the coronavirus outbreak as “a crisis unlike anything that has happened in my life”.

In concluding her speech, Ms Sultana said: “The government must act: protect the vulnerable, guarantee support to all workers, and make those with the broadest shoulders pay their fair share.”

“We need each other. The CEO is nothing without the factory worker, the bus driver or the nurse.”

After speaking in the debate, Ms Sultana said: “In response to the global financial crisis, the government spent hundreds of billions of pounds bailing out the banks. This is a far bigger crisis and now it’s the people who need support. The government must act before it’s too late.”