News

LATUC motion on the Health and Care Bill 2021

The Lancashire Association of Trades Union Councils (LATUC) notes:

  • While attention is focused on Covid, the NHS in England is being rapidly reorganised into regional Integrated Care Systems (ICSs). This will strengthen the role of private companies, including USā€ˆhealth insurance corporations and suppliers, in clinical services and management of the NHS. ICSs will mean more private contracts, more down-skilling and outsourcing of NHS jobs, reduced services and significant spending cuts.
  • The Health and Care Bill will turn ICSs into legal bodies. The Bill is based on NHS England proposals, derived from a US model which aims to spend less on care.
  • The Bill will remove the statutory duties to provide NHS hospital care in each area, and emergency care for everyone present in an area, and will end the requirement for social care needs assessments before a patient is discharged.
  • The Bill allows the Secretary of State to deregulate unspecified NHS roles currently covered by professional regulation, threatening patient safety and staff development and training.
  • NHS England Guidance proposes agile and flexible working with staff deployed at different sites and organisations across and beyond the system.
  • NHS England has accredited over 200 corporations and businesses, at least 30 US-owned, to help develop ICSs.
  • The Bill allows private companies to sit on both tiers of the ICS Board and their committees with delegated powers: a planning and budget-holding Integrated Care Board (ICB) including representation from a local authority and open to unspecified others, and an Integrated Care Partnership including local authorities, social care providers and unspecified others.
  • The ICB will sideline local authorities, threatening the future integrity of social care and reducing local accountability to elected Councillors, let alone patients and NHS staff.
  • NHS providers will be bound to a plan written by the ICB and to financial controls linked to that plan. The annual budgets will be based on area-wide targets, rather than providing the care needed by the individuals who live there.
  • NHS funding will be delivered through a fixed block payment whose value is determined locally, based on a Payment Scheme in which prices for the same treatment or service vary by area, and according to who is providing it and who is receiving it. The private sector will be consulted on the Scheme.
  • Such local funding levels could threaten national agreements on wages, terms and conditions. Local pay could lead staff to leave areas where funding is cut, further reducing care.
  • Procurement will be streamlined, eliminating safeguards for compliance with environmental, social and labour laws and the ability to reject bidders with poor track records.

The LATUC believes:

  • Integrated Care Systems threaten patient care, jobs, pay, working conditions and the integrity of the NHS as a public service. We oppose them.
  • After 30 years of marketisation, it is time to restore the NHS to a fully accountable, publicly run service, free to all at the point of use. As unanimously adopted at Labour Party Conference in 2017, full scale repeal of the 2012 Health & Social Care Act and new legislation for a universal, comprehensive and publicly provided NHS are required.
  • We need a separate, collaborative, publicly funded Social Care Service.
  • Genuine integration based on the wider determinants of health, involves more input from local authorities not less.
  • New technology must be used to improve patient care, not to deskill or replace or performance manage staff, or to deprive patients of face-to-face interaction with clinicians and other care staff that they may want or need.

 The LATUC resolves:

  • To immediately report these threats to the NHS and social care, to appropriate Union structures and to find out what action the Union is taking.
  • To press the Union to take urgent action, including using its influence with other unions, the Government and opposition parties, based on the following demands:
  • Full opposition to the Health and Care Bill 2021
  • Halt the rollout of ICSs
  • An extended and meaningful consultation with the public and Parliament to decide how health and social care services are provided in England.
  • The introduction of legislation to bring about a universal, comprehensive and publicly provided NHS, free at the point of use and fit for the 21st century.

 

LATUC motions to 2021 Trades Union Councils' Conference

The LATUC has submitted the following motions:

1. Restrictions on protest

This Conference is concerned that the Conservative Government has a majority in Parliament which allows them to force through legislation which undermines civil rights. The ‘Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill’ is a further step towards criminalising dissent and the Government is seeking to make restrictions on protest permanent through the Bill. The Government has demonised protestors and refused to support a protest exemption to the lockdown rules. It has undermined democracy and pitched the police against the public by encouraging aggressive enforcement against those who take to the streets to dissent.

The Bill drastically limits the right to protest through amendments to the Public Order Act 1986 and Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011, the introduction of the offence of Public Nuisance in statute, new legislation on memorials arising out of the demonstrations of summer 2020, and the criminalisation of trespass.  It limits the areas in which protest may take place, increases criminal penalties for people who fall foul of police-imposed conditions and establishes new offences and criminal penalties altogether. The effect of these measures constitutes an attack on a fundamental part of our democracy.

Conference believes that the right to protest is a basic right and the Government is using the public health crisis as cover to make emergency measures permanent. Under human rights law, states have an obligation to facilitate protest not suppress it.

Conference calls on Trades Union Councils and the TUCJCC to take every opportunity to oppose the Government’s proposals and to uphold the rights to freedom of expression (Article 10) and freedom of peaceful assembly (Article 11) under the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).

2. Windrush and deportations

This Conference notes that:

The 2014 Immigration Act has had a huge negative effect on the Windrush Generation and their descendants. People have been affected by the Windrush scandal even if they had legal status, such as those who came to Britain from Commonwealth countries before 1973 and their descendants. They have been subjected to cruel and inhuman treatment including deportation, loss of employment, housing and services including the denial of prompt medical treatment. Home Office officials have frequently used the Hostile Environment legislation to deprive migrants of their right to live and work in the UK even if they have legal status

The Windrush Compensation Scheme may not compensate all victims for all their losses and is being unreasonably slow to pay out. Many of the current problems have their roots in the racist 1971 Immigration Act which ended the right of people from the British Commonwealth to obtain UK citizenship unless they had a parent or grandparent with UK citizenship. This ensured that many white people in the Commonwealth could come to the UK but denied the same rights to most black people from the same countries. The right of abode should be restored to the Windrush Generation who lived in the UK and their descendants.

The use of the UK Borders Act 2007 to automatically deport people lacking EU citizenship papers who have served prison sentences is racist, applying a higher standard to black immigrants (who already suffer longer sentences than white people), and has led to people being deported to countries they left as children and where they have no connections, often leaving behind their family

This Conference urges Trades Union Councils to:

i. Campaign for a Windrush Act which:

•    Places a duty on public bodies to reduce race disparities for outcomes in their work as exposed by the Government’s Race Disparity Audit

•    establishes a commonwealth community cohesion fund for the development of projects in the UK and the Commonwealth to tackle disparities and rebuild social and economic ties of communities damaged by the Windrush scandal

ii. Campaign for legislation ending the Hostile Environment

iii. Campaign for a judge-led independent Public Inquiry into the circumstances which led to the treatment of the Windrush Generation

iv. Campaign against the deportations resulting from racist immigration legislation

 

LATUC Motions to TUC NW Annual Conference, March 2021

1. UNEMPLOYED WORKERS CENTRES

Conference recognises that the coming years could see one of the greatest economic recessions with  millions of workers face unemployment, low pay, insecure work, homelessness and poverty.  During the 1980s recession, the TUC worked with Trades Union Councils to establish Unemployed Workers Centres. The Centres worked alongside local unions to tackle the devastating impact job losses had on many communities. The TUC-recognised Centres provided advocacy, advice, and campaigning work in defence of ordinary working people.
Conference believes that the Unemployed Workers Centres should once again be part of a nationwide TUC campaign to actively defend and promote the interests of working people. We believe the 2020s are a different time from the 1980s and the description and aims of TUC Unemployed Workers Centres might require change to meet new challenges. But, fundamentally, they should continue to express the genuine concern the trade union movement has for all workers in struggle, especially those who find themselves unemployed through no fault of their own.
Conference calls on the NW Regional TUC and affiliated unions to work with County Associations of TUCs and local Trades Union Councils to actively seek to establish TUC Unemployed Workers Centres where they are needed but do not exist.

2. JULIAN ASSANGE

Conference condemns the ongoing mistreatment and imprisonment of investigative journalist Julian Assange by the UK and agrees with the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention that his treatment contravenes the principles of necessity and proportionality under human rights standards.
Conference opposes the attempt to extradite Mr Assange to the United States and believes that his case has broader consequences for media freedom, freedom of speech and civil liberties in the UK. The US government has indicted Mr Assange on 18 counts for obtaining, possessing, conspiring to publish and for publishing classified information. This is the first ever use of such charges for the publication of truthful information in the public interest. The charges against Mr Assange carry a potential maximum sentence of 175 years in prison. Sending Mr Assange to the US, where a conviction is a near certainty, is tantamount to a death sentence.
Conference calls on the TUC to press the UK Government to release Mr Assange immediately and to block his extradition to the US.

LATUC CAMPAIGN PLAN, AUGUST 2020

The NW TUC has asked Trades Union Councils to play a leading role in the community organising to prepare to win the post-pandemic social settlement in the interests of working people. Post-Covid-19 demands a new normal. This is our initial plan.

  1. 1.          Public services
  • to circulate and organise support for UNISON’s petition on the £10 billion shortfall in funding for local services, including refuse collection, children's services and adult social care: https://action.unison.org.uk/page/63837/petition/1
  • To support Lancashire local councils’, community groups, and other campaigns against public spending cuts.
  1. 2.          Employment
  • to campaign for (at least) the Living Wage Foundation’s Living Wage rate (£9.30 per hour) throughout Lancashire:

           https://www.livingwage.org.uk/what-real-living-wage

  1. 3.          Unemployment
  • to see if a similar campaign to ‘Sheffield Needs A Pay Rise’ could be set up in Lancashire:

          https://www.facebook.com/SheffPayRise/

  • to organise support for the TU perspective on unemployment/full employment in the media;
  • to support Lancashire Unemployed Workers Centres’ and other campaigns on this issue;
  • to organise and support trade union campaigns against redundancies (e.g., USDAW, etc.);
  • to campaign on COVID19 issues in employment, long-term fatigue, mental health, etc.
  1. 4.          Social security
  • to organise a Lancashire protest day together with other TU groups against Universal Credit:

          https://sheffieldtuc.co.uk/universal-dis-credit-unite-community-day-of-action-wednesday-15th-july/

  • to organise support for the TUC’s Welfare Charter:

          https://www.tuc.org.uk/research-analysis/reports/welfare-wages

  1. 5.          Workplace democracy
  • to organise and support action to increase trade union membership, (e.g., USDAW’s campaign for recognition at Boohoo, Burnley):

          https://www.usdaw.org.uk/About-Us/News/2020/Jul/Boohoo-needs-to-engage-with-trade-unions-to-sort-o

  • to organise a Lancashire trade union recruitment campaign together with relevant unions, taking into account that the Covid-19 crisis has highlighted the importance of union membership.
  1. 6.          Working conditions
  • to organise a Lancashire campaign against the state pension age rising to 66 by October this year, taking into account the Covid-19 excess deaths and lowered life expectancy:

          https://www.ucl.ac.uk/news/2020/feb/life-expectancy-not-improving-first-time-100-years

  • to organise a Lancashire campaign for the Living Wage Foundation’s ‘Living Hours’ initiative:

          https://www.livingwage.org.uk/living-hours

  1. 7.          Strengthen communities
  • to see if funds can be found for extending TU-based welfare rights/employment rights advice in Lancashire:

          SW Lancs Unemployed Centre http://www.swlican.org/

          Blackpool Unemployed Centre https://bcfuorguk.wpcomstaging.com/

  1. 8.          Care work, NHS, undervalued workers
  • to organise a conference (online/in-person) on the failure of privatised social care:

          https://www.tuc.org.uk/blogs/five-things-social-care-workers-need-wont-be-fixed-badge

 

NW TUC STATEMENT, MAY 2020

AIMS FOR A POST-PANDEMIC WORKERS’ CONSENSUS

Introduction

The Covid-19 pandemic is the latest crisis to expose western economic and social orthodoxies as wholly inadequate for meeting modern global challenges which also include climate change, poverty, war and the mass displacement of people. In the UK, massive state intervention has been necessary, not least to ameliorate some of the effects of 40 years of austerity which intensified following the 2008 global financial crash. Our population has been exposed, not just to a deadly virus, but also to the importance of key - previously undervalued - workers (producers) and the impotence of markets.

The government’s initial laissez-fair response which sought to develop a Darwinian “herd immunity” has been forced to evolve quickly, take heed of progressive voices such as the TUC and now includes measures to underwrite the incomes of tens of millions of people – not out of benevolence but in order to maintain consumer demand and the stability of financial institutions in the short-term.

When organs of monopoly capital such as the Financial Times[1] begin speculating about a post-pandemic economy requiring “radical reform” in which “public services [are] investments rather than liabilities…[when we must] look for ways to make labour markets less insecure” and “redistribution” is necessary, it becomes obvious that conditions are ripe for fundamental change. Things probably will never be the same again but our movement needs to be clear that minor reforms do not represent the sum total of our ambitions – even if, in the early days of an anticipated backlash or intensified class conflict, they appear to represent a welcome alternative to the default prospect of a period of much longer and much harsher austerity.

Aims for a post-pandemic consensus

Many workplaces, from hospitals to warehouses, supermarkets to schools and mail depots to care homes are unable any longer to be managed through a system of strict command and control. Workplace pluralism has broken out and is now recognised as necessary to optimise organisational efficiency and safety which is essential for the effectiveness of the public response to a national crisis and represents an opportunity for a renaissance of trade union activity.

Taking the existing provisions of the TUC Campaign Plan, Charter for a new deal for working people and considering the spirit behind the motions submitted to the postponed 2020 Annual Conference of the TUC North West, the Executive Group has considered the appropriate immediate tasks. These assume that the TUC and affiliated unions will form a functional part of the interventions required from civic society if we are to emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic with a renewed relevance and appetite to deliver progress for the people we represent:

A stronger voice at work

The producers in the economy have assumed a new significance and found renewed respect throughout the public health crisis. Medical and social care professions, shop and distribution workers, engineers and other workers in the fields of education, communications, sanitation and transport; public sector employees engaged in welfare, justice, housing, social work and beyond; and thousands of other jobs and vocations which were previously undervalued at best or exploited, and even demonised at worst, but are now held in higher regard by society at large. Their workplace voice is being heard more clearly and with more confidence than at any time since the peak of collective bargaining influence in the mid-1970s with examples including the demands for personal protective equipment in hospitals, the practical and academic arrangements for schools to remain open for those who need them but closed for the majority of students and the social distancing regimes which are now routine in factories, depots, warehouses and shops.

Going forward, a recalibrated industrial balance tipped in our favour is essential; backed up with a range of new and legally enforceable, collective workplace rights to secure effective mechanisms for regulating relations between workers and employers of any size. International Labour Organisation conventions and publications such as the Institute of Employment Rights’ Guide to a Progressive Industrial Relations Bill provide a template for such an initiative to be progressed by the TUC and supportive organisations, consistent with existing policy and in conjunction with affiliates.

Employment, security and flexible working

The lockdown announced on 23 March has exposed a range of inefficiencies in traditional ways of working and forced a reconsideration of how technology can assist workers rather than be used to replace them. Video conferencing and digital communications have become commonplace and have replaced physical meetings - saving time, stress and significant levels of pollution from unnecessary travel on congested transport networks.

The process of “furloughing” (Job Retention Scheme), introduced in no small part as a product of TUC lobbying, challenges a whole plethora of assumptions about the role of the state and its relationship with industry, incomes policy, the markets and maintenance of some sort of temporary order in the wider economy. Moreover, the scandal of precarious employment, bogus self-employment and casualisation more generally, now needs to force a fundamental re-think about job security – not least because as many as 11 million workers are expected to fall between the gaps in the government’s emergency provisions.

Globalisation and global markets have proven unable to provide an adequate response to the crisis, as exemplified by the absence of a domestic manufacturing sector capable of responding as quickly and effectively as required, for example, to produce medical ventilators, clinical gowns, masks and other types of PPE. With UK business investment[2] and productivity[3] continuing to decline and global debt to GDP at historic levels[4], the recovery from the crisis requires significant state intervention, specifically in respect of long-term domestic industrial development, research, skills and job creation, including new Green Jobs, towards a policy of full employment.

Flexible working and home-working have proven effective in ways that employers might not have previously thought possible and, with a few exceptions, unions have been able to secure pragmatic agreements on the use of discipline, capability, performance management, redundancy consultation and other Human Resource Management initiatives during the crisis. This reorientation needs to be secured after the crisis subsides with a transformation of management techniques and practices which are leveraged by confident workers with a better understanding of industrial relations.

 

Welfare, tax and public services

The fragility of social care provision has been brought into even sharper focus throughout the crisis – not least in respect of the lack of coordination around the provision of Personal Protective Equipment for an enormously undervalued group of professional Carers. Though just one example of the failure of market provision, this can provide the basis for a popular campaign of nationalisation and insourcing of a wide range services which have been removed from democratic control since the post-war consensus made way for neo-liberalism in the 1970’s but which have been demonstrated to be essential for societies to thrive and in reducing inequality.

This requires a new way of thinking about who contributes to society and how those contributions are valued. Hedge-fund managers and financiers were nowhere near the top of the list of “key workers” as identified by the government[5] but to ensure that all citizens and corporations meet their social responsibility obligations it is necessary to re-evaluate how taxes on high salaries, profits and accumulated assets can contribute to a transformational programme of societal and economic reform. Such a programme does of course require sufficient numbers of trained staff to collect tax owed and circumvent domestic and international loopholes which currently allow and facilitate large-scale tax avoidance and evasion.

Reforms of the type described can provide a solid basis for root-and-branch social security reform in the interests of families; sick, disabled or retired workers and the professional staff who care for them.

Safe, satisfying and dignified work

Many workplaces have looked and felt different during the crisis with workers organising themselves to take control of social distancing matters and assert rights to other protective measures including access to equipment. This needs to be maintained and would be assisted by the introduction of new and enhanced health and safety legislation, under a reinvigorated Health and Safety Executive with strong worker representation, which goes beyond the protections offered by the European Union and provides recognised safety reps with additional powers to control the management of risks.

Alienation is a phenomenon that has long since afflicted a range of workers and this becomes more problematic with the advent of “lean” processing, excessive monitoring and intrusive surveillance made possible by exploitative bosses’ misuse of new technologies allied with management practices which have persisted since the industrial revolution. Enhanced workplace democracy allied with investments in life-long learning, skills, training and development can provide for more rewarding careers, higher levels of job satisfaction and a better work/life balance based on a shorter working week and better holiday provision.

One of the positives to emerge from the crisis is a new sense of solidarity that is evident among workers. This needs to be grasped as a new opportunity to build sustainable links within and between communities - and between nations - which helps us to root out racism, sexism, homophobia and any other prejudice which might otherwise be in danger of being exploited by the far-right.

 

Building class unity and winning a new deal for working people

Our unions already contribute to joint campaigns on issues such as health, education, welfare and transport, and Trades Councils provide the vital link between the workplace and the wider working-class community including service users. Many of our affiliated unions will maintain a direct link through the political levy with the Labour Party and actively participate within it. However, for the remainder of the pandemic and in its immediate aftermath, communities will rightly expect a new social settlement which is designed, planned, implemented and monitored in a manner which promotes maximum democratic participation and sustainability at local community level. This will not prejudice our international solidarity work; indeed, the opposite is true as an effective response to a domestic, post-pandemic class conflict will provide a range of opportunities to contribute to global campaigns for justice and genuine expressions of internationalism.

Economists have estimated that UK private enterprises will require a £350bn bailout in the period following the crisis and the working-class will need to prepare for a significant battle if we are to avoid being left to pick up the bill in a similar fashion to that which followed the global banking crisis of 2008. If left unopposed, working people will have job losses, pay cuts and evictions to look forward to while the public services that remain, albeit wounded, from the last attack will be further undermined. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Our working class institutions and the people who make them up have demonstrated their legitimacy and ability in running civic institutions and productive enterprises on new and better terms when transmission rates of the virus eventually subside and we emerge in to the post-pandemic period with a new outlook on society and our individual and collective roles within in it.

Conclusion and recommendations

There can be no going back to pre-pandemic societal and economic conditions. The TUC will need to make a crucial contribution to popularising the principals and demands set out above as part of a broad coalition which includes individual affiliates, civic society and progressive community-based organisations.

We will work to ensure that the TUC:

  1. Reaches out at regional and local level to allied organisations who share our broad aims with an invitation to come together to explore opportunities for joint working towards winning mainstream support for a new settlement for working class people won through genuine participatory democracy not necessarily limited to traditional structures
  2. Utilises all its resources to contribute to a programme of political education designed to support the above aims
  3. Encourages its Officers to seize the initiative now to broaden support for these aims through proactive media interventions, publication of articles, opinion pieces, blogs and a coordinated social media campaign
  4. Through its network of Trade Councils, seeks to play a leading role in the community organising necessary to prepare to win the post-pandemic social settlement in our interests
  5. Monitors, critiques and effectively challenges attempts to structure economic and democratic reforms in the immediate aftermath of the crisis which are contrary to the aims set out above

[1]Virus lays bare the frailty of the social contract - Financial Times, 3 April 2020

 

LATUC STATEMENT APRIL, 2020

The UK Government’s Response to Coronavirus

We are calling for real answers from the Government to a range of questions that are now seriously troubling the public. If there are no satisfactory answers, then this adds to a clear need for a full public inquiry as soon as it is appropriate into the handling of the coronavirus situation in the UK. A public inquiry should be followed by any necessary steps to call to account those whose actions, or inactions made the outcome much worse than it should have been, and also prepare the UK for future pandemics.

We say this because the situation for the UK and a few other major developed nations contrasts so adversely with the situation in other countries which have taken measures, such as those suggested by the World Health Organisation (Ref 1), at an earlier stage. The evidence for that is given in the two tables below. The figures will change as time passes of courses, but the contrast between those two types of response looks as though it will just get even starker.

In his letter to all homes (Ref2) the Prime Minister asserts, “From the start, we have sought to put in the right measures at the right time.” Whether the right things have been done at the right time should be a central question, as it looks very likely that people have died, are dying and will die unnecessarily in the UK. Already, the evidence points to relative success in some countries being no accident, leading to far fewer deaths and much less misery. Similarly, it also points to relative failure to prevent thousands of deaths in the UK and some other places being no accident.

There seems to have been a failure in both strategy and in dealing with the details of the crisis. That is why we believe that there is an urgent need for real answers from the Government to a range of questions that are now seriously troubling the public. If there are no satisfactory answers, then this adds to a clear need for a full public inquiry as soon as it is appropriate into the handling of the coronavirus situation in the UK.

We believe that the following questions need answers and should also be included in any inquiry. This list is not meant to be exhaustive –

  • Was the Prime Minister’s statement in the letter to all homes in the UK a reasonable one to make? i.e. “From the start, we have sought to put in the right measures at the right time.” And were the best measures chosen?
  • Why was the UK not better prepared for a pandemic despite it being identified as the number one threat to the country? Were there warnings and reports which had been ignored such as Operation Cygnus (Ref3)?
  • Why were initial attempts at community testing and contact tracing, abandoned with no further substantial attempt to contain the virus before the lockdown?
  • Why was there no real attempt to insist on quarantine for those entering the country? (As an island, the UK was in a better position than others to follow up these individuals).
  • Why did the Government not appear to take notice of urgent WHO requests, especially over implementing widespread tracing and testing (Ref1)? This remains the case even at the time of writing.
  • Were the health service and social and care services adequately staffed? (Ref4)
  • Were the health service and social and care services properly equipped, with particular reference to protective equipment for staff, to testing facilities, and ventilators? (Ref4)
  • Did lower UK standards of protective equipment, and/ or distribution failures contribute to deaths of frontline staff? (Ref 1)
  • Did the special needs of Care Homes receive reasonable attention, especially over PPE and the extra level of shielding required?
  • Had the way the NHS and the social services have been treated by Governments in the past caused them problems in responding to this crisis? (Ref4)
  • Were incorrect statements made by ministers that need investigation and explanation? (Ref5 includes some)
  • We also note that Alistair Campbell’s 20 pertinent questions written on April 10th all need an answer. (See the first link on Ref5)

Two Comparisons Tables

Countries which have higher virus-related death rates

compared with countries which have been far more successful

Tables 1&2 below shows the recorded deaths of some nations as of the morning of 26th April 2020, and then gives a figure for the number of deaths per million people in the population by that day. Confirmed coronavirus cases have not been used as it seems to depend on whether much testing has been done. The last column is a comparison showing how much more (or less) likely a UK citizen is to have died with the virus already. Numbers of deaths are taken from the BBC charts (Ref6) except Hong Kong, although it is known that the real number of UK deaths is likely to be larger as they are often hospital deaths only. Tables 1&2 have been produced because the BBC league tables fail to give a full picture for two reasons –

  1. They give rank the order using the number of confirmed coronavirus cases. As this depends on the amount of testing as well as the number of cases, it is not a fair measure. Deaths have been used instead.
  2. They ignore the fact that the population of countries varies considerably. Therefore the deaths per million in the population have been used to give a fairer comparison.

Table 1 Some major countries with higher virus-related death rates (Ref 7)

Country

Deaths

Deaths per million people

Comment

 

Comparison with UK

death rate

Spain

22,902

490

Hopeful of being past the peak

1.6 times worse than UK

Italy

26,384

436

Hopeful of being past the peak

1.5 times worse than UK

France

22,614

347

Hopeful of being past the peak

1.2 times worse than UK

UK

20,319

299

Hopeful of being at the peak

-

US

54,265

166

US new cases still quite high

1.8 times less than UK

Germany

5,877

71

Germany has done a lot of testing

4.2 times less than UK

Iran

5,650

70

Some question the official figures

4.3 times less than UK

Table 2 Some of the countries which appear to be dealing with the situation far more successfully (Ref8)

Country

Deaths

Deaths per million

Comment

 

Comparison with UK

death rate

South Korea

242

4.7

Arrived here quickly. Lots of testing done.

64 times less than UK

New Zealand

18

3.8

Virus arrived here later but action was quick – “Go early, Go hard” said PM.

79 times less than UK

China

4,632

3.2

Started here. Some question official figs

93 times less than UK

Singapore

12

2.0

Arrived here quickly but kept control

150 times less than UK

Hong Kong

4

0.5

Arrived here quite quickly

598 times less than UK

Taiwan

6

0.3

Arrived here quickly. Quick action taken

997 times less than UK

 

References

Ref1. WHO pandemic news and advice https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019

https://www.cambridge-news.co.uk/news/uk-world-news/coronavirus-who-government-uk-strategy-17924466

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-51839944

Statement from Richard Horton, editor of the Lancet on Question Time, https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(20)30727-3/fulltext

https://inews.co.uk/news/health/question-time-richard-horton-uk-coronavirus-nhs-prepared-response-2520479

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/apr/15/uk-government-coronavirus-science-who-advice

Ref2. PM’s letter https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-52079922

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/pm-letter-to-nation-on-coronavirus

Ref3. Operation Cygnus (on preparations for a pandemic - done in 2016-7)

https://www.england.nhs.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/board-paper-300317-item-10.pdf

https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2020/03/28/cygn-m28.html

Ref4. NHS, Social Care & Care Home problems and issues.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/mar/31/coronavirus-key-questions-over-uk-governments-handling-of-crisis

https://londonlovesbusiness.com/nhs-starts-ventilator-rationing-with-patients-of-reasonable-certainty-of-survival

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-52145140

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-52127152

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/apr/01/hancock-orders-all-spare-coronavirus-tests-used-nhs-staff

Coronavirus: Older people being 'airbrushed' out of virus figures. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-52275823

FT – Estimate of ‘real’ death figures. https://www.ft.com/content/67e6a4ee-3d05-43bc-ba03-e239799fa6ab

Ref5. Questions on information from Ministers and Government changes of course

https://www.thearticle.com/media-questions-at-no10-briefings-are-woeful-here-are-20-they-should-ask

Health Minister in January “UK WELL EQUIPPED”, WORLD-LEADER IN CV TESTING AND NHS WELL PREPARED - https://videopress.com/v/xTSR7Hhl

https://novaramedia.com/2020/04/10/britain-and-the-coronavirus-a-timeline-of-failure

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2020/04/01/government-unable-explain-coronavirus-testing-failures-lockdown/

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/mar/31/coronavirus-key-questions-over-uk-governments-handling-of-crisis

Coronavirus: What next in the UK coronavirus fight? https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/explainers-51632801

Coronavirus: UK changes course amid death toll fears. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-51915302

UK missed three chances to join EU scheme to bulk-buy PPE. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/apr/13/uk-missed-three-chances-to-join-eu-scheme-to-bulk-buy-ppe

https://bylinetimes.com/2020/04/11/a-national-scandal-a-timeline-of-the-uk-governments-woeful-response-to-the-coronavirus-crisis/

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2020/apr/19/six-points-of-criticism-uk-governments-flailing-coronavirus-response

Ref6. Statistics and Data https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-51235105

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-52103747

https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/#countries

https://www.ft.com/coronavirus-latest

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/apr/14/coronavirus-pushes-england-death-rate-to-highest-level-ever

Ref7. Reports on some major countries which seem to have a higher virus-related death rate

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/mar/21/coronavirus-asia-acted-west-dithered-hong-kong-taiwan-europe

https://hbr.org/2020/03/lessons-from-italys-response-to-coronavirus

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-52087113

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/apr/01/absolutely-wrong-how-uk-coronavirus-test-strategy-unravelled?

Ref8. Reports on some of the countries which appear to be dealing with the situation far more successfully

What could the West learn from Asia? WHO criticism of the UK. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-51970379

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/mar/11/mass-testing-alerts-and-big-fines-the-strategies-used-in-asia-to-slow-coronavirus

https://www.latimes.com/world-nation/story/2020-03-11/a-singaporeans-view-of-the-coronavirus-its-surprising-to-see-the-u-s-so-messed-up

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-51866102

https://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2020/03/26/821688981/how-south-korea-reigned-in-the-outbreak-without-shutting-everything-down

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/av/world-52001578/coronavirus-new-zealand-announces-lockdown (on New Zealand)

 

LATUC MOTIONS TO 2020 TRADES UNION COUNCILS’ CONFERENCE

1) Reinstate free bus passes for people aged 60+ living in England

The Trades Union Councils’ Conference notes:

That pre-2010, all residents living in England who had reached the age of 60 years were given a National Concessionary (free) bus pass bus pass by local authorities which was funded by HM Government and the local authorities.

Since the changes in 2010, in order to be eligible for a free bus pass, the majority of people living within England would now have to be almost 66 years of age.

Conference also notes:

That free bus passes are provided to people aged 60+ in Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, London and Merseyside.

Free bus passes would help to sustain high street shopping, aid public transport by increasing passenger numbers, improve the environment and increase mobility and the health and wellbeing of the elderly.

Conference calls upon the TUC to request:

The British Government and applicable local authorities to reinstate free bus passes for people who reach the age of 60 years living within England.

 

2) Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000

The Trades Union Councils’ Conference considers that Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act 2000 is a breathtakingly broad and intrusive power to stop, search and hold individuals at ports, airports and international rail stations. It can be exercised without the need for any grounds of suspecting the person has any involvement in terrorism – or any other criminal activity. This means it can be used against anyone a police, immigration or customs officer chooses. Powers like this are ripe for overuse and abuse. They are invariably used in discriminatory fashion, with stops based on stereotype rather than genuine suspicion. Recent research suggests Asian passengers are 42 times more likely to be stopped under Schedule 7 than their white counterparts. The figures indicate that examining officers are targeting people who are perceived to be Muslim.

Conference calls upon the Trades Union Councils and the TUC to:

- campaign for the repeal of Schedule 7 immediately;

- campaign for the Home Office to release the data on the religion category profile of those who are stopped as this has been refused;

- campaign for the Government to co-operate fully with the cross-party APPG (All Party Parliamentary Group) of British Muslims on any investigation into the use of Schedule 7.