Boris Johnson Has Announced More Lockdown Support For The Self Employed, But Some Tories Are Still Set To Rebel
Self-employed workers will get 80 percent of their profits paid for by the government in November during the next lockdown - increasing it from 40 percent.
The increase brings the support for the self-employed in line with those who are furloughed who will be paid 80 percent of their wages throughout November.
It comes after pressure mounted on the Chancellor Rishi Sunak over the weekend to do more for the self-employed, as it emerged on Friday night that another lock-down was going to be introduced.
Covid loan schemes for small businesses will also be extended until the end of December.
This second period of national restrictions in England, which begins on Thursday, is being introduced to try and save capacity in the NHS, the prime minister said in a statement in the Commons.
He said even in the south west of England, where cases have been low, they would run out of hospital bed space in a number of weeks if the government did not intervene.
"If we allow our health system to be overwhelmed, exactly as the data now suggests that would not only be a disaster for thousands of Covid patients because their survival rates would fall. We would always reach a point where the NHS would no longer be there for everybody. The sick would be turned away because there was no room in our hospitals," Johnson said.
"That sacred principle of care for anyone who needs it...could be broken for the first time in our lives. Doctors and nurses could be forced to choose which patients to treat, who would live and who would die."
Johnson said life saving operations could be put at risk if the virus was not brought under control.
He said he was "truly sorry" sorry to businesses for all the work they put in to re-opening in a Covid-secure way, by installing things like perspex screens to protect customers.
Those over the age of 60 should decrease contact with others, though he said they would not ask people to shield again.
By early spring 2021 he suggested a vaccine could be in place, and there is the "immediate prospect" of millions of "cheap, reliable and rapid turn-around tests" with results in minutes.
He said they could be used to allow partners in to maternity units for the birth of their children.
"I believe these technical developments, taken together, will enbale us to defeat the virus by the spring as humanity has defeated every other infectious disease."
The restrictions will expire on Wednesday 2 December, the PM said, with the hope being that there is a return to the pre-existing tier system.
Labour leader Keir Starmer called for a circuit breaker on October 13 after it emerged scientists advising the government recommended an urgent three week lockdown in late September.
Starmer said at that point there were only 11 deaths from Covid-19 and just over 4000 COVID infections.
"For 40 days the prime minister ignored that advice. And when he finally announced a longer and deeper national lockdown on Saturday, those figures had increased to 326 deaths a day, and 22,000 Covid cases that...is the human cost of the government's inaction."
He said neither the government's £12 billion track and trace system, nor its regional restrictions had stopped a second wave.
"At every stage the Prime Minister has been too slow, behind the curve at every stage he has pushed away challenge, ignored advice, or put what he hoped would happen ahead of what is happening.," said Starmer.
Some Tory MPs revealed their frustration and contempt for the government's lockdown and the prime minister is almost certian to face a number of rebels when the new measures are voted on in Parliament.
Senior Tory Charles Walker told the Commons the proposals were so authoritarian that it made the case for a written constitution.
"I will be not supporting the Government's legislation on Wednesday because as we drift further into an authoritarian coercive state, the only legal mechanism left open to me is to vote against that legislation," he said.
"If my constituents protest they get arrested. Given the people of this country will never ever forgive the political class for criminalising parents seeing children and children seeing parents, does the Prime Minister not agree with me that it is the time for a written constitution that guarantees the fundamental rights of our constituents? A constitution underpinned and enforced by the supreme court?"
A dozen Tories are expected to vote against lock-down measures when they are put to the Commons on Wednesday November 4, however with Starmer backing a lockdown the PM's plan is expected to pass.