Britain in Lockdown – Day 24

Professor Neil Ferguson of Imperial College London has said that social distancing needs to remain in place until a vaccine is found, according to The Daily Telegraph today. The total has reached 12,686 with 100,000 confirmed cases. The government is coming in for more criticism about its handling of the supply of PPE but you have to wonder at the motives of the critics. As we’ve seen in so many examples, the issues involved are being politicised.

Yesterday the hashtage #YouClapForUsNow was trending on Twitter due to a video featuring largely non-white people telling us how we should show more appreciation for the immigrants who work in the NHS. This sanctimonious, hectoring, divisive video will fade away into cyberspace soon enough, but it’s a reminder that there are those who are unwilling or incapable of understanding the difference between basic and sensible immigration controls and real xenophobia.

Britain remains as diverse and tolerant as ever, yet they seek to separate us by sowing the seeds of fear and suscpicion. At least if their food stocks run down they can always tuck into those large chips on their shoulders.

Fourlough Pay Scheme

As we’re now more than half way through April thoughts are turning to pay day at the end of the month. The fulough pay scheme by which the government (tax payer) will pay 80% of the wages of all workers furloughed since lockdown began is built and is now being tested. Obviously they want to make sure it’s robust enought to handle the demands that will be placed up on it, and secure against the inevitable fraudulent claims.

Employers have the option to top up the remaining 20% but it’s at their discretion. For some employees the last three weeks may have been relatively relaxed. If all goes well then they’ll receive 80% of their usual pay for what is effectively gardening leave. Of course there are many others for whom it’s been a time of tremendous stress too.

In the meantime, the employers are, as ever, carrying the bulk of the worry, and many businesses won’t survey despite the support offered by the government. The measures are; deferred VAT payments, a business rate holiday, a grant based on the business rates, and small business loans.

A 99 year old World War II veteran, Captain Tom Moore, has raised over £12 million pounds in sponsorship for the NHS by walking around his garden on his Zimmer frame. He originally set a target of £1,000. He served with the 8 DWR (Duke of Wellington Regiment) (145 RAC) in Burma and 9 DWR in India. He served and fought on the Arakan, western Burma, then later in Sumatra after the Japanese surrender.

His spirit and that of the generous doners who supported him, is more indicative of the British people than the xenophobia slur of the above mentioned video.