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31 March, 2020 Open access

Government and businesses must do more to support workers through the coronavirus crisis, says Select Committee

Business Committee's call for action responds to evidence of workers' concerns that include insufficient social distancing, protective equipment and safety measures in the workplace

The government and businesses must do more to support workers through the coronavirus crisis, the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Committee has said.

As part of its inquiry into the impact of coronavirus on businesses and workers, the BEIS Committee has published a further selection of submissions from concerned workers, in response to its ongoing call for evidence on how employers are putting in place measures to help support workers during the coronavirus crisis.

NB - the Committee published an initial tranche of submissions last week and subsequently wrote to the Chancellor Rishi Sunak picking up on concerns raised by respondents about the challenge of childcare. In addition, the Committee has written to the Secretary of State for BEIS Alok Sharma, calling for clearer coronavirus guidance from the government.

In an open letter, Committee Chair Rachel Reeves thanks everyone who has submitted evidence so far and sets out some of the key concerns that have recurred across many submissions, including concerns about -

Commenting on the concerns raised in the submissions, Ms Reeves said -

‘These submissions highlight a series of critical issues - on safety at work, on whether workplaces should stay open, and around issues of self-isolation and working from home - which the government and businesses need to do more, and quickly, to address.

Many companies, big and small, are doing the right thing. They are downing tools, shutting up shop, and paying their employees to work at home. Their actions will save lives.

When this pandemic passes, businesses will have to answer for how they treated their workers and suppliers. The government will be judged on the effectiveness of their response. Many businesses will be able to tell of how they did everything they could while others will be found wanting. The BEIS Committee will continue to press for action on these issues and hold the government and businesses to account for their response to this pandemic.’

For more information see Coronavirus (COVID-19) - selection of worker concerns published by BEIS Committee from parliament.uk