Writing in the Sunday Times, Plaid Cymru MP Jonathan Edwards has said that those “previously insultingly deemed ‘low skill workers’ in the health and care sector, and other vital public servants” have been shown to be indispensable to society by the Coronavirus crisis.
Although the party welcomed the Chancellor’s financial support package, Mr Edwards also used the article to reiterate Plaid Cymru’s calls for a Universal Basic Income. He said that this could be funded by a one-off wealth tax.
Mr Edwards (pictured below) said that the richest 1000 people in the UK are worth over £600bn, which could be taxed to ensure people facing economic hardship as a result of the crisis could be supported.
The Westminster Government recently published it’s post-Brexit immigration plans, which included a definition of ‘low-skilled workers’ which would include care workers and other low-salary roles in health and social care.
Mr Edwards said that the ‘everyday heroes’ on the frontline of the fight against Coronavirus must be better ‘valued and remunerated’ by society after the crisis.
In today’s Sunday Times, Jonathan Edwards MP writes: “I can safely assure readers that it’s not rockstar bankers and premiership footballers that will be the heroes – but those previously insultingly deemed ‘low skill workers’ in the health and care sector, and other vital public servants who will be in the front line fighting the virus.
“A new society will, I hope, emerge that properly remunerates and values those everyday heroes we are all relying upon to get us through this unprecedented time.
“We can do without speculating bankers, celebrities and footballers – care workers are going to be indispensable.”
Mr Edwards goes on to write: “With an economic collapse the most effective way of ensuring that people have money to pay for essentials and keep a semblance of demand is to introduce a basic payment for all, as advocated by Plaid Cymru.
“This would be far preferable piecemeal interventions that risks missing groups of people. It should be funded by a one of wealth tax ceasing the financial assets of everyone over a certain level – for instance £10m (as proposed by the Fabian Society in 2016).
“The richest thousand people in the UK have a combined wealth well over £600bn. More than enough to make sure the other 60m can have food on their tables via a basic income.
“A re-run of 2008 is not acceptable. Of course, banks and businesses should be kept afloat, but the people must be the priority for any bailout.
“This time the super-rich will have to pay their fair share.
“Aiming the axe at the least well off in society for the cost of the crisis and its aftermath is not acceptable.”