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'Plug gaps in sick pay provision or force people to choose between health and paying bills'

THE government must plug the gaps in statutory sick pay provision rather than force people to choose between public health and paying their bills, Labour demanded yesterday.

Shadow work and pensions secretary Jonathan Reynolds said the government must extend the assistance so both people and businesses are supported when asked to comply with instructions to self-isolate under the new NHS test and trace system.

If they do not, he warned, “people will be expected to make an impossible choice between self-isolating or putting food on the table.”

He was speaking as Labour unveiled a three-point plan to get test and trace working locally as it described the government’s current scheme as “total chaos.”

Labour’s plan calls for the government to ensure councils have powers to respond to local spikes in infections, to introduce guarantees that nobody will have to wait more than 24 hours to receive a test or result, and to deliver a working app to enable councils to safely contact everyone at risk.

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