Front-line staff dealing with COVID-19 deserve an extra £29 a day, say MPs

It is suggested that key workers fighting COVID-19 should receive a £29-a-day “front line service reward”, similar to the deployment allowance paid to troops.

Laura Townsend
20 April 2020
COVID-19

The suggestion comes amid growing criticism of the government over shortages of specialist safety kit.

A new comprehensive support package for NHS & Social Care workers on the frontlines during the COVID-19 pandemic has been suggested by the Liberal Democrats.

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Designed in consultation with health and care worker representatives, the support package will help the workers in the home as well as in the workplace.

Acting Lib Dem leader Sir Ed Davey said NHS and care staff were “risking their lives to protect others” in what was a “national struggle” against the coronavirus.

Following the scheme, the party is calling for the key workers fighting COVID-19 to receive a £29-a-day “front line service reward”, similar to the deployment allowance paid to troops.

Amid growing criticism of the government over shortages of specialist safety kit, the fast track procurement of personal protective equipment (PPE) is a high priority to prevent “unnecessary risk”.

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Other measures proposed by the party include providing practical help for NHS and care staff such as securing accommodation for key workers self-isolating, or who have vulnerable people in their household.

Death in service.

The Lib Dems want the government to pay for the funerals of key workers who died in the fight against coronavirus. Currently, the NHS has a “death in service” scheme which is not as generous as the military and many key workers on the coronavirus frontline aren’t eligible.

At least 96 health and social care workers are thought to have lost their lives to COVID-19. 

The front-line service reward would be for the duration of the lockdown, the party said, adding that all key workers should also receive a coronavirus service medal.

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Sir Davey said: “The fight against coronavirus is seeing several million key workers risking their lives to protect others. The top priority for front line staff is protection.

“We should never ask our military to risk their lives without the proper kit, and we shouldn’t be leaving health and care workers without sufficient protective kit either.”

He advised that, “The government must look at creating a front-line service reward, similar to the deployment allowance front line troops receive. There are many low-paid workers on the coronavirus front line, and we must show our gratitude.”

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