This week in Parliament, MPs debated a petition relating to financial rewards for government workers and keyworkers.
Like 550 of my constituents who signed the petition, I too recognise the vital role key workers have played throughout this pandemic and believe they deserve to be supported and rewarded for working extra hard under extremely challenging and unprecedented circumstances.
I know dedicated nurses who took unpaid leave to protect family members who were shielding but received no additional financial support. A food and essential goods driver who had to stop working to take up childcare responsibilities. While I have also been deeply concerned about conditions across the frontline in the NHS, with many healthcare workers who put themselves at risk due to inadequate PPE.
Key workers have kept our country going throughout the Covid-19 crisis.
They’ve worked long hours, put themselves at risk and sacrificed time with their families to serve their community and country. Many have also tragically lost their lives.
Now, the Government is freezing their wages.
Earlier this year, the Chancellor stood on his doorstep and clapped for key workers, yet now his Government are freezing pay for many of them. This takes a sledgehammer to consumer confidence.
Firefighters, police officers and teachers will know that their spending power is going down, so they will spend less in our small businesses and on our high streets; they will spend less in our private sector. Many key workers, who willingly took on so much responsibility during this crisis, are now being forced to tighten their belts.
We continue to owe our carers and key workers a huge debt of gratitude. Their courage and dedication in the face of this virus has been truly incredible.
This Christmas, carers and emergency workers, alongside our armed forces and other key workers, will step up yet again. They will sacrifice precious time with their families to keep us safe.
We must repay them, not just with our gratitude, but by fighting for fair pay and conditions for all those who have given so much to help our country through this pandemic.
This is why Labour has pledged to continue campaigning against the pay freeze proposed by the government for millions of public sector workers, as well as backing a real living wage of £10 per hour. The Government should finally do the right thing by reversing the pay freeze and show key workers that they are truly valued.