The Conservative Party conference this week was marked by a series of barbaric threats to force many sick people back into work amidst an ongoing pandemic. These threats include benefit sanctions and, according to some sources, the removal of rights to free prescriptions and dental care.
At a time when over 2 million people of working age are registered sick, we do not need to ask why they plan to do this. Many of these people are suffering from Long Covid, including many young people, acquired in many cases as a consequence of the Conservative Party’s inaction, lack of compassion, and profit-at-any-costs, infections-only policy. Rather than addressing the reasons why so many are being infected and reinfected and what can be done to address this health emergency, the Tories have chosen to victimise many of these people because of their illness.
Many of those with Long Covid and other conditions that are a side effect of infection are former doctors and health and social care workers, as well as teachers and teaching assistants. Indeed, the highest rates of Long Covid are among teachers.
Why should these public servants who put themselves on the front line of the pandemic now be punished because of the Tory government’s search for scapegoats? Punishing the sick for having the temerity to be sick is a tradition we must end.
Covid Action steering committee member Joseph Healy said: “The Tories must protect the health of the nation, not victimising those who, as the Covid Inquiry evidence has already revealed, are the victims of Tory government negligence and greed.”
Image credit: Covid Action UK.