Call for windfall tax on PPE firms to fund ₤ 500 benefit for frontline

Companies that made fortunes selling PPE during the Covid-19 crisis must be taxed to fund a ₤ 500 benefit for frontline workers who are facing burnout, a thinktank has said.

” Pandemic profiteers”, including the online retailer Amazon, which saw sales soar in lockdown, should pay a 0.5% sales levy, according to the RSA, which is warning that 49% of frontline staff believe they will soon burn out, including 63% of NHS staff.

The thinktank’s tip of a “new offer” for crucial employees, consisting of a ₤ 500 thank-you bonus offer, extended ill pay and paying the real living wage, follows the lead of the United States president-elect, Joe Biden, who has actually assured to provide employees at a range of employers– from medical facilities to supermarkets– an emergency situation pay increase. Recently, the Scottish very first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, revealed ₤ 500-a-head perks for Scotland’s 300,000 health and social care employees.

” It’s just ideal that those who have actually benefited from the pandemic– consisting of online sales giants like Amazon, and those offering PPE– ought to assist support the heroes who have actually kept us safe and fed,” stated Anthony Painter, chief research study officer at the RSA.

” Our study shows essential workers feel deeply let down by the federal government, with its approval ranking falling to just three points amongst crucial employees who voted Conservative in 2019. But they feel let down by the public too, with grocery store employees especially feeling unsupported.”

Some companies have actually made considerable earnings selling masks, dress and other equipment to the government as costs rose, in some cases more than tenfold. In Between February and July 2020, the government spent ₤ 12.5 bn on 32bn items of PPE which if bought at pre-pandemic prices would have cost simply ₤ 2.5 bn.

The owner of one Gloucestershire business, Platform-14, was reportedly able to purchase a ₤ 1.5 m house in the Cotswolds and two other residential or commercial properties with the make money from agreements worth ₤ 276m.

Alex Bourne, a previous neighbour of Matt Hancock, was awarded about ₤ 30m-worth of work making test tubes for NHS Covid-19 tests regardless of having had no previous experience of producing medical supplies.

Amazon’s revenues worldwide tripled to $6.3 bn (₤ 4.7 bn) in the 3rd quarter of this year compared to the very same duration in 2019, thanks to the boom in online shopping throughout the pandemic.

On The Other Hand, Rishi Sunak last month announced a public sector pay freeze, albeit with exceptions for NHS workers. The chancellor’s step will strike council workers and some care employees.

A YouGov poll of key workers carried out early last month for the RSA report found 58% of social carers believed it was “most likely” or “likely” they would experience burnout this winter. Practically a quarter of NHS staff said burnout was “very likely”. Females were feeling the worst effects in regards to psychological health: 67% said the pandemic had made preserving their mental health more difficult, versus 47% of males.

” It is wrong that our health and security during the pandemic is constructed on the backs of low-paid employees who themselves lack the same security,” said Manny Hothi, director of policy at Trust for London, an anti-poverty charity which assisted money the research study.

The RSA wants the government to commit to enforcing the real living wage for all crucial employees– presently ₤ 10.85 in London and ₤ 9.50 in other places. The thinktank stated 37% of social carers earn less than the real living wage.

The RSA’s chief executive, Matthew Taylor, is the federal government’s acting director of labour market enforcement and recommended Theresa Might’s administration on reforming working practices for gig employees and millions of others in precarious tasks. He was not involved in writing the report.

Amazon and the British Chamber of Commerce declined to comment.

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