UK lockdown: Caller leaves James O'Brien truly touched after she explains predicament

24 March 2020, 14:18 | Updated: 24 March 2020, 16:32

By Fiona Jones

This caller told James O'Brien the truly tough predicament she is in due to the government's "contradictory" advice - but left James extremely touched when she insisted we think not of her but of the least fortunate in society.

Natasha is on the vulnerable list, having received a text from the government telling her to stay indoors for 12 weeks, however her husband simply cannot work from home.

"In terms of Boris's guidances that it contradicts itself," Natasha said, "so on the one hand I'm being told to shield but on the other hand it's effectively forcing people like my husband to go to work because if he doesn't the maximum he'll get is a couple of weeks' statutory sick pay."

Read more: What are the rules of Boris Johnson's lockdown and when do they end?

Natasha acknowledged that until the government force her husband's firm to close down, they are at risk: "If they give him the 80% salary that when it comes to claiming it back from the government they may not get it, and I think that's the issue here."

James surmised that the firm had a lack of confidence in the government and because he is not making "key deliverables", if he doesn't go to work he doesn't get paid.

The HR department at the firm where Natasha's husband works even asked if Natasha could go and live somewhere else when he told them Natasha was vulnerable.

"The guidance needed to be amended a little, at the moment it's contradicting itself," Natasha said, sharing she'd been separate from her husband for two weeks now - had he not been working they'd be able to live normally. She said that now she's going to have to ask him to stay at home.

"I think if it's worth anything, I think you're right," said James, "I think he's got to come home and stay home."

Natasha added that food banks are really low on contributions and the Trussell Trust is taking donations online.

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