Coronavirus Bill: Jeremy Corbyn calls for guaranteed income for gig economy and self-employed workers

PUBLISHED: 13:11 23 March 2020 | UPDATED: 13:45 23 March 2020

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn in the House of Commons. Photograph: House of Commons/PA Wire.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn in the House of Commons. Photograph: House of Commons/PA Wire.

The government will add a six-month renewal clause as part of its emergency powers aimed at tackling the coronavirus pandemic.

Jeremy Corbyn has been calling for such a concession, as he believes the far-reaching powers being negotiated in the Coronavirus Bill must be reviewed regularly.

The 329 page document currently being rushed through parliament is expected to be approved by the House of Lords and passed into law by the end of the week.

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The bill will transfer sweeping powers to government so it can deal with the outbreak, including allowing police to detain suspected carries for quarantine and screening, and restrictions on travel.

People who refuse to be tested for coronavirus could be fined up to £1,000.

The bill will expire after two years.

Speaking on Thursday last week, Mr Corbyn told the Gazette powers granted by the bill should be renewed via a fresh vote of Parliament every six months.

He added: “Secondly, within it government must guarantee the supply of food and medicines to everybody, and the bill must also include economic measures to guarantee income for those people working in the gig economy and self-employed, otherwise they will take risks with the health of all of us because they can’t afford to stay at home. [...]

“Support for businesses is welcome but support for workers is essential.”

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