Angela Rayner says son had to borrow money from her to survive Covid isolation


Angela Rayner has revealed that her son was forced to borrow money from her to survive isolation as she urged the Government to increase sick-pay.

Labour’s deputy leader said her 24-year-old, Ryan, who works in hospitality, was among thousands of people losing out out for doing the right thing when exposed to coronavirus.

She called on the Government to urgently boost statutory sick pay, currently £96.35 a week, and make it illegal for bosses to dismiss staff when self-isolating.

“The cost of not doing that is that they spread the virus and more people are off and it costs the economy more in the long run,” she said.

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Deputy leader Angela Rayner
Ms Rayner said “work should pay” – and “also provide you with a good standard of living”

“It’s an awful feeling trying to raise a family not knowing whether you’re going to have a wage next week or not, and feeling frightened to ring your employer to say I need to self-isolate.”

Labour is launching a campaign on Monday to make Britain the “best place to work” after a decade under the Tories which has seen family incomes stagnating, more than 3.6m people in insecure work and in-work poverty at a record high.

Over the coming days, they will set out plans to end insecure work in the gig economy and make sure all employees have full rights from day one on the job.

Ms Rayner, whose role covers the future of work, said the Government now faced a “fork in the road” as the country emerged from the pandemic

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In an interview with the Mirror, she said: “Work should pay and it should also provide you with a good standard of living, so it’s not just about surviving, it’s about thriving.”

She claimed the Tories would allow workers to “sink or swim” on their own and warned their plans to rip up workers’ rights could take the country back to the Victorian era.

The Labour MP said the pandemic had shown the depth of the divide between those in low-paid, insecure work, and those in secure well-paid jobs.



a negative lateral flow test next to advice from the NHS COVID app on an iphone to self isolate
Ms Rayner said her son, a dad-of-two, was forced to isolate

“They had a buffer that stopped them from having the most adverse affects of the pandemic, she said.

“Whereas those who were in the most precarious work, usually frontline, found that they were more at risk, less likely to be able to self-isolate, less likely to have sick pay, more likely to be low paid. You could see the divide really starkly.”

According to TUC analysis, two million workers in the UK do not earn enough to qualify for statutory sick pay, while others are on insecure contracts.

Not everybody is eligible for a one-off £500 payment for low-paid workers forced to self-isolate.

Ms Rayner said: “Even my son was asking me to give him a loan because he’s not going to be paid. He’s got two children and he’s got to self-isolate.

“If they’re not on a secure contract there’s no entitlement to the pay. A lot of people have used up holidays – the give that was in the system isn’t there now.

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“If you have to self-isolate you should be compensated for that, because you’re doing the right thing for the country and stopping the virus spreading.

“Not everybody has a parent to help them out financially. I want everybody to have that entitlement. It’s not fair that some people are really struggling.”

She added: “The Government is absolutely out of touch with this problem. It’s not just a small number, it’s a significant numbers and it’s growing.”

Ms Rayner defended unions as a force for good, insisting: “If you look after your workforce, they will look after you and your business will thrive as a result.

“Actually the Labour Party is pro-business and pro-trade union, when they work together that is the sweet spot.

“Look at Germany’s industrial model, they work with the trade unions and have a much stronger economy and skilled workforce.”

She added: “If you’ve not been involved in the union movement, people do have this view of them from the 1980s, that they’re all out on strike. It couldn’t be further from the truth.”

After months of poor poll ratings, Ms Rayner denied this summer was make-or-break for Keir Starmer’s leadership.

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She insisted: “This is Labour’s opportunity to show that we’re winning, that we’re back in the game.

“We’ll be showing that we’re a Government in waiting, not just any old a Government, but one that is going to be life-changing.”

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