Labour leader, Sir Kier Starmer has said the Government has left working parents in an “impossible position” by stating that from 01/08/20 employers can bring staff back to work if they believe it is COVID-19 safe, without, offering access to child care or clubs over the summer.
On 17/07/20 Prime Minister, Boris Johson announced that under new guidelines, employers can bring workers back to the office if it is deemed COVID-19 safe. Mr Johnson also said that people may use public transport again, making it possible to travel to work.
This move did receive criticism as the Trades Union Congress (TUC) believes “the Government is passing the buck on this big decision to employers.”
The Labour leader said that the Government has announced this change to the guidelines, but have not offered parents help looking after their children over the summer.
Mr Starmer said:
We all want society to get moving again, but it requires a clear plan and national leadership from the Government.
Despite ordering millions of parents back to the office, the prime minister has refused to provide any extra help for families, penalising parents by putting them in an impossible position.
Parents got a back-to-work notice on Friday just as the summer holidays began. But they got no support for structured activities, no summer catch-up schemes, and no support for a childcare sector on its knees.
If we are going to reopen our society and economy safely and successfully, we need the public to have confidence in the Government’s advice, we need test, track and trace to be working properly, and we need proper support for children to learn and for parents to get back to work.
The Labour party has also highlighted that schools catch-up plans do not include summer clubs that would help working parents. As well as not enough financial assistance for nurseries and childcare providers to help parents return to their office.
Mr Johnson announced that schools across England, will see an increase in school budgets as from the Discovery primary school in West Malling, Kent, Mr Johnson thanked the school “from the bottom of his heart for having kept going through the pandemic”.
Last year (2019), the Government promised an increase in school funding in England, a £7.1 billion increase by 2022-23 compared to 2019-20. Schools in south west England will see an annual increase of 3.6 per cent, with schools in London receiving 2.3 per cent.
Geoff Barton, leader of the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) is happy that the Government was “delivering on its promise to improve school funding”. However, he added that the pandemic meant that “finances continue to be stretched to breaking point”.