One sentence from Matt Hancock shows he’s clueless about reality for most working Brits

Matt Hancock in another coronavirus test scandal
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On 24 November, health secretary Matt Hancock addressed a joint session of the Health and Social Care Committee and the Science and Technology Committee.

But one sentence from Hancock showed just how clueless he is about the reality for most workers in the UK. Hancock stated:

We are peculiarly unusual and outliers in soldiering on and still going to work, and it kind of being the culture that ‘as long as you can get out of bed you still should get into work.

What’s really peculiar?

Financial Times journalist Sarah O’Connor didn’t pull any punches in her analysis of what’s really peculiar about this country:

David Schneider also highlighted one of the crucial reasons why people work when ill:

Stop going to work

According to the health secretary, Brits should stop “soldiering on” and going to work when they are sick, potentially making colleagues ill:

Why in Britain do we think it’s acceptable to soldier on and go into work if you have flu symptoms or a runny nose, thus making your colleagues ill?

I think that’s something that is going to have to change.

If you have, in future, flu-like symptoms, you should get a test for it and find out what’s wrong with you, and if you need to stay at home to protect others, then you should stay at home.

Hancock did, inadvertently, get one thing right, though. Things do have to change. No-one wants to work when they’re ill. But when it’s a choice of going to work with a runny nose or not being able to pay the rent or feed your kids, there aren’t many options left.

No-one wants to put friends and colleagues at risk by ‘soldering on’. But unless the government steps up and guarantees a decent level of sick pay that includes covering people on zero-hours contracts, this isn’t going to happen.

Additional reporting by PA

Featured image via screengrab

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  • Show Comments
    1. And even if our sick pay is low, there is a culture (particularly amongst men) of going to work with disgusting colds and flu because it is the manly thing to do and anyone who takes time off is called a wimp.
      Added to that, it is not unusual to get disciplinary warnings for being off sick (I got one for being off with chickenpox) or being told you can’t have any more time off sick and if you do, it will be taken out your holiday entitlement!
      And Matt Hancock blames the UK worker for going to work while sick – no wonder we do it!

    2. As a nurse, any illness is frowned upon by our bosses, who in the main are not health trained staff. This began with Lord Sainsbury who took supermarket managers into the NHS to balance the books! Fix the books! To provide false statistics that showed the previously health trained managers were criminal in their negligence of public money! Well now it is the criminally led and run Cabinet that is stealing £billions from the Treasury. Princess Nut Nuts too has been given a wad from the public purse simply because she is the PM’s doxy. I am on the point of vomiting from my eyeballs when Black Matt calls himself ‘my colleague’ he most certainly is not!

    3. Tory minister out of touch will common people! Surely not ;o).
      Apparently alongside the cuts to health benefits the NHS used to have four times as many beds before the Thatcher Crew began dismantling the post-war settlement (ie Welfare State). They also began the so-called ‘reforms’ of education and employment rights that have reduced the National reading age to 9 from 12 and facilitated the domination of Agency work and Zero contracts for most of us. Their current ‘reform’ of the benefit system was required to make our employed under-class less resentful of the wages they receive, which have to topped up by a benefit that has been re-modelled as a ‘credit’ (and available to wages well above the national average!). Remember you 47% of the electorate that voted in December 2019, “You deserve everything that follows on”, unfortunately the 53% of us that didn’t vote for ‘the oven ready brexit’ (very appealing to nine year old intellects) will have to live with it, or die with it perhaps.

      1. sorry I accidentally got disabled…Lifelong poverty for me then, just when I think it can’t get any worse. In October another four more items from my repeat prescriptions were removed from my repeat. No matter that a Doctor has prescribed them. The CCQ know better. Unfortunately the cost to me of buying them, is the same as the amount of my food and household items. What should I do Mr Hancock? Get my medications of buy food? Please let me know.

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