‘Decades of underinvestment and privatisation in our health, elderly care and emergency services have produced Britain’s disastrous Covid death rate – the  sixth worst in the world’, according to the Communist Party.

Speaking to the party’s Political Committee on Wednesday evening, general secretary Robert Griffiths said the Tory government’s late and inadequate response to the coronavirus had added a ‘deadly twist’ to the figures.

‘The result is a crisis which is taking a severe toll on the NHS and its heroic staff who deserve an emergency pay rise in the March Budget’, he remarked. Instead, he feared, Chancellor Rishi Sunak will slash funding for vital local authority services.

Mr Griffiths also pointed to the ‘abject failure’ of the Tory government and health and safety inspectors to enforce anti-Covid workplace rules, urging support for workers and unions taking action to defend themselves against life-threatening bosses.

Britain’s Communists called for a faster roll-out of vaccinations to front-line workers and other vulnerable sectors of the population, while also underlining the importance of maintaining lock-down measures.

Rejecting the ‘ludicrous anti-vaxx conspiracy nonsense about Bill Gates and the Illuminati’, Mr Griffiths nevertheless insisted that the pharmaceutical industry would never win public trust without a large measure of social ownership, as proposed by Aneurin Bevan in his classic book In Place of Fear (1952).

The Political Committee called for an extension of government financial support for the unemployed and homeless, families, the self-employed and small businesses. But the Communists also warned that the labour movement and peoples of Britain face a ruling-class onslaught on jobs and living standards in order to reduce the National Debt and boost corporate profits.

The CP welcomed news of this coming Sunday’s Zero Covid Alliance online conference, sponsored by Diane Abbott MP and the Morning Star, and announced that the party’s own ‘Sisterhood, Socialism & Struggle’ conference will now take place on May 8.