[2020] Motion 02 Government response to Covid-19

Composited motion

Received from:

Merged into composite 01

Congress believes that the government’s public health response to the Covid-19 pandemic was calamitous. That the UK government performed badly is unquestionable. With a death toll significantly worse than the predicted good outcome, they also delivered one of the worst excess deaths rates in the world. People died and families suffered unnecessarily because of government failings including the:

i. delayed lockdown

ii. disorganised procurement of protective equipment for frontline workers

iii. scandalous failure to prevent the tragedy that spread across care homes

iv. the painfully slow efforts to build up testing capacity.

These failures cannot be hidden behind the self-congratulation over the Florence Nightingale hospital build.

Over 10 years of Conservative-driven austerity left our NHS, care services and wider public services stretched beyond the capacity needed to effectively face such a pandemic. The heroic efforts of our frontline workers are therefore all the greater given the circumstances they faced.

Populism appears to have driven policy ahead of public health needs and scientific advice, with government statements flip-flopping almost daily. The extent to which ministers struggled to deal with the logistics of managing such a pandemic had more to do with their decision to boycott breakfast TV than any claims of aggressive questioning.

Congress therefore calls for an immediate public enquiry into the handling of the pandemic in the hope that any decisions needed to deal with a second spike can be based on lessons learned rather than the populist leanings of our egotistical prime minister and his cohorts.

Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association


  • Add a final paragraph:
    “Congress is dismayed the government has committed to only an “independent” inquiry with no timescale, rather than a full public inquiry. Congress believes that a full public inquiry must take place and report this year before winter, when there are fears there could be a second peak of the virus.”

National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers