Sadiq Khan has reminded people that the public transport systems in London are running in order to help “essential workers” to get to and from work, and urged others to stay away especially during peak times.
Speaking on BBC Breakfast following the Prime Minister’s announcement of lockdown rules last night, the London mayor discussed the fact that many people have continued to take tube journeys this morning.
He said that “messages have been mixed and the public don’t appear to understand the importance of following the message: everyone should stay at home. Full stop”.
Khan said: “These rules aren’t optional. These are instructions given for a very good reason, to stop the spread of the virus and to ensure fewer people will die. And it’s really important all of us follow these rules.”
He added: “And if you’ve got to go to work for a very good reason, please don’t do so during the rush hour. Public transport is running for essential workers to get to and from work.”
335 people have lost their lives.
That’s not just a number; these are men and women who have died prematurely because of this disease, and this number is only going one way.
— Sadiq Khan (@SadiqKhan) March 24, 2020
On who should go to work, he said: “There has been a difference of opinion between the government and myself on this issue, to be quite frank, but I’m quite clear. Only if you really have to go to work must you be going to work.
The mayor also called for the Chancellor to introduce additional measures as “a matter of urgency” for the self-employed, those in the gig economy and those working on zero-hours contracts.
“Here’s the problem… people who are self-employed, people who are on zero hour contracts, people who work in the gig economy who unless they work can’t get money to put food on the table and they face a real conundrum.”
Last week, Rishi Sunak announced that the self-employed would be able to access Universal Credit at the same rate as statutory sick pay. This leaves five million workers in the UK to sustain themselves on £94.25 a week.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has called the lack of help for the self-employed a “major omission” from the government’s support measures.
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