I can certainly give my hon. Friend that reassurance.
I repeat the answer I have given several times to several of the hon. Lady’s colleagues: we will do whatever it takes to ensure that all workers are protected throughout this crisis.
We are extending the hours in which deliveries can be made, and we are talking right now with the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee about ensuring that pharmaceutical goods get at the right time to the customers who need them.
I endorse completely the sentiment that the hon. Gentleman has just expressed about the need to do this collectively. The Government have announced a £46 million package of investment for finding a vaccine. As I have just said, a huge amount of work is going into investing in test kits, and those are changing and improving the whole time. The House will be reassured to know that this work is being done at an international level. We are working with our EU partners, the G7, the G20, the World Health Organisation and the International Monetary Fund—everybody is working together on the very issues that the hon. Gentleman raised.
Yes. My hon. Friend identifies exactly the three priorities of this Government.
Defeating the coronavirus must be the top—indeed, the only—priority for the foreseeable future. There is already huge anxiety across the UK. Businesses are facing unprecedented challenges and uncertainty, so, regardless of leave or remain, how quickly will the Prime Minister recognise the inevitable and seek at least a one-year extension to the Brexit implementation process?
Our priority is to deal with the coronavirus epidemic. The other matter that the hon. Member mentions has, as he will know, already been legislated for.
I can indeed confirm that that is exactly why we have cut business rates. We are making very considerable sums available for small and very small businesses precisely to protect the high street and the enterprise environment on which so many jobs depend.
I am sure that the Prime Minister will agree that protecting our NHS staff at this crucial time is of maximum importance. At least one GP surgery in County Durham this week received surgical masks from the NHS with expiry dates of 2016 on the box. In other cases, labels had been stuck over the top, extending the expiry dates on the boxes. What assurances can the Prime Minister give not only that surgeries get the equipment they require, but that it is actually effective once they get it?
To the best of my knowledge, all the equipment we are sending out is of the correct standard. I would be happy to look at the case that the right hon. Gentleman mentions. As I said earlier, we have stockpiles of PPE, but are making huge efforts to ensure that we have enough for the outbreak ahead.
I wholly endorse what my hon. Friend has said. We will do whatever it takes, and we will beat it together.
Apart from rent arrears, eviction from a private tenancy—a section 21 no-fault eviction—is the biggest reason for homelessness. On Friday, I met a 77-year-old woman who had lived in her home for 15 years, and a couple caring for a sister with Down’s syndrome. Both households were due for eviction today. Will the Prime Minister ask the courts to stop section 21 evictions to take the pressure off hard-pressed councils and these really worried families?
The hon. Member is absolutely right to raise this matter, and that is why I said what I did to the Leader of the Opposition. We will indeed be bringing forward legislation to address this point.
My hon. Friend is absolutely right, and that is why we are speeding up DBS checks, so that they can be done in 24 hours. I want to thank and congratulate all the boroughs throughout this country for the way they are harnessing those volunteers.
The Prime Minister talked about supporting families. Will he show his solidarity for households headed up by a single breadwinner with dependent children? Saturday is National Single Parent Day, which was initiated by Ronald Reagan in 1984. Will he join the right hon. Member for Romsey and Southampton North (Caroline Nokes), who is my friend in this, on the steps of Old Palace Yard immediately after Prime Minister’s questions to show that, old or young, rich or poor, big or small, all families matter?
I could not agree more strongly with what the hon. Lady said. Whether I will be able to join her, I am not sure; I will have to look at my diary. I think I have a date with you, Mr Speaker.
My right hon. Friend raises a very important point, but it is one that is not unknown to the medical profession, and we will be relying on the clinical decisions of those medical professionals.
On the matter of “whatever it takes”, it takes more than three-word slogans, and in this case it takes a bit of war socialism. We need to get money into the pockets of the workers. Has the Prime Minister seen early-day motion 302, which I have proposed, about bringing in a temporary universal basic income to support workers and get money to where it is needed?
I hear the hon. Gentleman loud and clear. He echoes a point that was made by the right hon. Member for Ross, Skye and Lochaber (Ian Blackford). Of course, that is one of the ideas that will certainly be considered.
My right hon. Friend is rightly engrossed day to day in dealing with the developments of covid-19, but I would like to ask him to cast his mind a little further forward. The chief scientific adviser and the chief medical officer have been clear that the best solution to this is a vaccine, but the chief scientific adviser has said that that could be as much as a year away. He has also suggested that, until that vaccine is available, it may be difficult to ease restrictions successfully. Does my right hon. Friend agree with that analysis, and if so, what does a sensible exit strategy look like?
The objective of the Government and of our scientific advisers is to depress the peak of the epidemic, to ensure that we get through it, so that we come out on the other side, and that we do that as fast as possible. That is why we are taking all the measures that we have announced. That is why we have announced the package of business support that we have. I am not going to give a timescale on it, but that is the strategy, and I am absolutely certain that it will succeed.