LABOUR leader Sir Keir Starmer has put pressure on Prime Minister Boris Johnson to announce his next plans in the coronavirus pandemic response.
Sir Keir Starmer has laid out seven principles he wants the Prime Minister to work on as he prepares to announce his blueprint on Sunday. The government is required by law to revise the lockdown restrictions set out in March by Thursday .
In a statement released ahead of talks with the Prime Minister, Mr Starmer said: “We want to support the government to get this right and that is why we need a national consensus on what happens next.
“Our priority is protecting the publics health and saving lives. That is why we supported the lockdown and again support the restrictions staying in place at this time.
“That is why we supported the lockdown and again support the restrictions staying in place at this time.
“However, we need to be honest with the public about the challenges ahead.
“We are in this for the long haul. It is imperative that the government is properly planning for what happens next and properly supporting our NHS and social care services.
“Mistakes were made at the beginning of this crisis. The government was slow to implement the lockdown, slow on testing and slow to get PPE to frontline workers. We need to learn from those mistakes.”
The Labour leader asked for a “national safety standard” for businesses and schools, an “ambitious target” for contact tracing.
He also called for the creation of additional help for individuals and businesses facing hardships due to the economic strain the measures have brought on.
Sir Keir said in the statement: “Labour is setting out seven core principles that need to be considered by the government to ensure public services, businesses and people are supported and kept safe.
He added that people needed to know what the next steps were as their livelihoods depend on the Prime Ministers decisions.
“People rightly need confidence its safe before they go back out to work, travel or use public services.
“When I was elected leader, I promised to act in the national interest and I meant it.
“Over the coming days and weeks, I will work constructively with the government on these proposals to ensure we have the best possible response to this crisis.”
The Labour Party leaders statement comes as figures released on Monday showed 6.3 million people in the UK have been put on furlough.
On Monday night Rishi Sunak, the Chancellor, said that the cost of having almost a quarter of all PAYE workers on furlough was “clearly not a sustainable situation”.
Mr Sunak said: “To anyone who is anxious about this, I want to give them reassurance today that there will be no cliff-edge to the furlough scheme.
“Im working, as we speak, to figure out the most effective way to wind down the [furlough] scheme and to ease people back into work in a measured way.
“As some scenarios have suggested, we are potentially spending as much on the furlough scheme as we do on the NHS, for example. Clearly that is not a sustainable situation.”
On Monday, the UK saw its lowest daily death rate since March, with 288 fatalities reported.
The GMB trade union has warned that the latest back-to-work plans announced by the government were “thrown together in a hurry” and would not protect workers from contracting coronavirus.
“They cannot just flick a switch, say its safe to work within two metres of other people without PPE and expect them to head merrily off to work,” acting general secretary John Phillips said.
It has been reported that the “first day back” could be on May 26.