has failed "milllions" says MPs
MP Bill Esterson says
the Chancellor has failed millions of people who have received
no financial assistance during the Coronavirus pandemic. The
Sefton Central MP said thousands of workers in his constituency
had fallen through the gaps of the economic support available.
He said he was disappointed, but not surprised that the
Chancellor Rishi Sunak had chosen not to offer any help to this
group, while at the same time civil servants said what the
Conservatives had offered represented:- "questionable"
value for money.
Mr Esterson said:- "The Chancellor has continued to ignore
the plight of the millions of self-employed, freelancers, new
starters and owner/managers who have had zero help. He is
offering businesses a ₤1,000 bonus for each furloughed worker
who returns to their job, but the Government's own civil
servants have pointed out that's a poor use of billions of
pounds as it creates a perverse incentive. Companies are now
encouraged to bring back workers who have been on the job
retention scheme and sitting at home for months, while making
the staff who have worked through the crisis redundant. The
value for money of the ₤9 billion offered to businesses was said
by HMRC to be questionable. Putting some of that money directly
into the pockets of people who have had no help at all, some of
whom now face losing their homes and are relying on foodbanks,
would have been a far better way to support the recovery. Those
who have still not had help have every right to be very worried
and very angry at the lack of support from the chancellor who
promised he would do whatever it takes. That promise did not
extend to the more than 3 million people who have been left out
of the support schemes. There are too many gaps in the support
available, and the schemes, which give some workers ₤2,500 a
month while others get nothing, are unfair. I have written to
the Chancellor several times on behalf of desperate residents
but the responses I've received have not been good enough.
Workers who have missed out on support include many in the
creative industries who don't submit self assessment tax returns
because they work on short-term PAYE contracts. This means they
were not eligible for furlough or the self employed income
support scheme (SEISS). Also unlikely to have been helped are
self employed people with a limited company and whose income
comes from dividends not PAYE wages. Others who do some self
employed work and some PAYE work have been refused the SEISS if
more than half their income has come from PAYE work in the last
three years. Self employed people who earn just above the
₤50,000 threshold have been left with no support, whereas
someone making on average just less than ₤50,000 has received
Mr Esterson added:- "These are the missing millions who
have been left suffering the effects of the lockdown without any
financial help. I have written to the Chancellor raising all the
above and more. I supported the Musicians Union's calls for a
₤400 per week basic income for the self-employed who were unable
to work due to Covid restrictions. I advocated for constituents
who started new jobs after the February 28 cut off, or whose
employers refused to furlough them. I have written to the
Chancellor several times to highlight the gaps. Too many of my
constituents have been left with no support. There are an
estimated three million people across the UK who have been
excluded from the current support packages. This puts businesses
and livelihoods at risk, and risks the economic recovery. The
Government should address the disparities in support, to ensure
that all individuals and businesses currently excluded from
Covid-19 grants are given the support they need and deserve.
Constituents who have been affected by the gaps in the support
schemes can email me at:-
and my staff will do what they can to try to help.".
Crosby Library has been
confirmed as Sefton's fifth venue for a drive through Mobile
Coronavirus Testing unit
ON Monday, 13 July
2020, will see the 1st 3 days of the drive through Mobile
Coronavirus Testing units at Crosby Library. It will have 1 unit
which provide drive through COVID-19 tests for people with
appointments. Ut will be open between around 10am and 4pm, the
testing site will be in the Library parking area. Because these
are drive through sites, people being tested do not need to
leave their cars. Supported by:- Sefton Council, NHS Southport
and Formby CCG and NHS South Sefton CCG, Mobile Coronavirus
Testing units have already visited:- Bootle, Litherland, Maghull
Leader of Sefton Council, Cllr Ian Maher said:- "Over 6,000
people have already been able to take tests at Sefton Borough's
Mobile Units, and I'm delighted we have been able to set up this
new one at Crosby Library. These tests, which are a vital part
of the ongoing work to overcoming and preventing the spread of
COVID-19 are taking place nearly every day in July and this new
site will mean we now have extra capacity for the to take
Tests are available for anyone but they need to have made an
appointment 1st at:-
NHS.UK or by calling:- 119.
Essential workers still need to book through the.Gov.UK
Fiona Taylor, chief officer of Sefton's 2 CCGs, said:-
"This new site in Crosby is good news and gives eligible Sefton
residents more opportunities to be tested for Coronavirus closer
to home, particularly those who may find it difficult to travel
to the regional centres in Liverpool, Haydock and Manchester and
these mobile testing sites are an excellent example of how
partners across health and care are working together locally to
respond to Covid-19."
MP calls for inquiry
into ₤15bn spend on Coronavirus PPE
MP Bill Esterson has
joined calls for an inquiry after it emerged that the Government
spent ₤15billion on PPE during the Coronavirus crisis. The MP
said the procurement process was:- "flawed" after
huge contracts were given to companies that had no history of
supplying PPE, while firms such as Merseyside based Florence
Roby, which said they could supply 40,000 washable gowns per
month, were told:- "no thanks." Mr Esterson said
the spending had been a massive waste of public money and it
exposed the long standing issues with Government procurement,
where smaller suppliers were ignored in favour of larger
providers that had been shown unable to come up with the
necessary goods. The PPE costs were revealed in documents
relating to the Chancellor Rishi Sunak's latest economic package
announced on Wednesday.
Mr Esterson said:- "These documents exposed what we have
been saying all along; the Government is not set up to properly
handle procurement when it's necessary to pursue routes that are
out of the ordinary. The process is flawed. The Government had a
procurement plan that involved sourcing PPE from overseas.
During a global pandemic with demand at an all time high, other
Governments were banning exports from their countries and
requisitioning the products themselves. That left the UK exposed
and because our Government was unable to turn swiftly to smaller
companies who were ready to step up, they made massive errors in
giving huge contracts to firms with no history of delivering
PPE. Florence Roby whose owners live in my constituency spent
weeks if not months trying to negotiate with the Government to
make 40,000 washable gowns a month. These would have provided
great value for money but the Government made the firm jump
through so many hoops they missed weeks of potential production
time and were eventually told:- ‘thanks but no thanks.' They
were treated really badly. Lessons must be learned so that going
forward, whether during another pandemic or in normal times, the
procurement process works in the right way, to boost UK firms
and support jobs, especially in smaller firms. The Government
ran down their stocks of PPE, and their pandemic plan to procure
more fell at the first hurdle due to other countries needing PPE
too. And when the Government needed to turn to UK firms for
help, they found they were just not set up to do that in a quick
and effective way. It was a massive missed opportunity to invest
in UK firms and make sure the whole health and care sector had
the PPE they needed."
The Government controversially handed a ₤108m contract for
personal protective equipment (PPE) to a pest control company
worth just over ₤19,000. Knowsley based Florence Roby, makers of
luxury uniforms for the beauty industry, pledged to make 40,000
washable surgical gowns per month at a factory in Lithuania, as
well as 1,000 per month at their factory in Knowsley. But after
months of being "strung along" by the Government, the company
was told their product was not needed.
Senior manager Ben Roby said:- "I'm quite frankly
disgusted in the entire process. We did everything we were asked
to do and at the point the Government approves us for order, NHS
England dithered and delayed. The message we received is a
generic bulk sent message that shows a complete lack of
understanding and competence in the offer that was on the table.
Why have companies like mine been strung along by the govt and
NHS when they had no intention of ordering? It's feels like the
Government had other priorities now and were not in touch with
the reality. The govt response was abysmal. It made us quite
angry to hear them say they were talking to people yet our
company and all the ones our fabric supplier works with have all
said nobody from the Government wanted to speak to them."
The generic email received from NHS England said:-
"Firstly, thank you for your offer of PPE and all of the kind
offers of support and assistance you have given throughout the
emergency PPE sourcing programme. The scale of the public
response to Covid19 has been unprecedented and we've received a
staggering volume of offers to provide PPE for which we are
incredibly grateful. We are now in a position where we have
sufficient contracted supplies for our demand, and the total
volume of offers we have are far greater than any foreseeable
future requirement. We are therefore no longer accepting offers
for PPE and are closing down all offers submitted that are
surplus to requirements. This means that while we remain
extremely grateful for your offers, if they have not already
been converted to contract with DHSC it is unlikely now to be
required. We are reviewing offers which have been successfully
passed to closing in light of remaining demand and you will hear
from us if, on review, we decide yours is an offer that we do
still wish to proceed with. We appreciate that this news will be
a disappointment to many who have made significant efforts in
submitting the required documentation and proposals, some of
which have not been successful in progressing to contract, but
would like to reassure you that regardless of the outcome we are
thankful for every effort. Without the massive response we have
seen from organisations such as your own we simply would not
have been able to respond to the challenge and meet the needs of
the NHS and our frontline workers."
Total UK cases COVID-19 cases - update for Liverpool City Region
THE total number of UK
Coronavirus (COVID-19) infections that have been laboratory
confirmed, within the UK, has risen by
650 cases and the total
number now stand at 289,603, that includes tests carried out by
commercial partners which are not included in the 4 National
Daily number of COVID-19 associated UK fatalities added to the
total, was sadly reported to be
21 according to the Department
of Health. The total number of deaths of people who have had a
positive test result confirmed by a Public Health or NHS
In England, there are a total of 249,510 confirmed cases. North
West - total of 43,463 confirmed cases. The number of laboratory
confirmed cases within the following Local Authorities, in and
around the Liverpool City Region are as follows:-
► Liverpool, 2,463 confirmed cases.
► Sefton, 1,516 confirmed cases.
► Wirral, 2,036 confirmed cases.
► St. Helens, 1,198 confirmed cases
► Halton, 690 confirmed cases.
► Blackpool, 1,028 confirmed cases.
► Blackburn with Darwen, 1,065 confirmed cases.
► Bolton, 1,860 confirmed cases.
► Bury, 1,284 confirmed cases.
► Cheshire West and Chester, 1,983 confirmed cases.
► Cheshire East, 2,201 confirmed cases.
► Lancashire, 6,751 confirmed cases.
► Manchester, 2,947 confirmed cases.
► Oldham, 1,880 confirmed cases.
► Rochdale, 1,638 confirmed cases.
► Stockport, 1,636confirmed cases.
► Tameside, 1,531 confirmed cases.
► Trafford, 1,260confirmed cases.
► Wigan, 2,135 confirmed cases.