The Liberal Democrats have launched a campaign calling for a ‘Frontline Support Package’, a five-point plan to give frontline workers the support they need and the recognition they deserve as they get us through this appalling coronavirus crisis.
Acting Leader of the Liberal Democrats Ed Davey thanked the “army of workers protecting us” in hospitals, care homes and hospices and asked the Government to support these “coronavirus heroes” properly. The package proposed by the Liberal Democrats includes measures to scale up the procurement of PPE, a frontline service reward and a deployment allowance of £29 per day in line with the Operational Allowance Armed Forces personnel deployed to dangerous areas.
Acting Leader of the Liberal Democrats Ed Davey said: “In our hospitals, care homes, hospices and in the wider health and care sector, an army of workers are protecting us in this national struggle. Liberal Democrats believe the Government must support these coronavirus heroes properly.
“The top priority for frontline 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. It is simply unacceptable that so many key workers do not have the equipment they need to protect them from coronavirus in the line of duty. The Government must do far more.”
Mark Hunter, Liberal Democrat Group Leader at Stockport Town Hall, added: “When the country emerges from this crisis, we must properly recognise those who were willing to serve and make a sacrifice, just as we do with military forces. The Government must look at creating a frontline service reward, similar to the deployment allowance frontline troops receive.
“Quietly, key workers on the frontline every day undertake acts of bravery both big and small, to save lives. Liberal Democrats are campaigning so they get the protection and support now – and get the recognition and thanks they deserve when the epidemic has passed.”
The Frontline Support Package proposed is as follows:
• Protection – PPE kit for all key workers NOW. Ministers have had since January to sort out proper protective equipment for frontline staff, yet still too many workers aren’t getting safe protection. Bureaucracy is stopping manufacturers and importers getting more PPE to our NHS and social care staff. NHS procurement must be strengthened and Ministers should require delivery firms to support the army in their huge logistical effort to distribute kit.
• Practical help – food deliveries, accommodation & transport. With NHS and care staff working long hours and worried about their own families, they deserve extra help and support with the practical things in life, if and when they need it during the pandemic. So, for example, the government could partner with more hotels to offer accommodation to key workers who are self-isolating or who have vulnerable people in their own households.
• Frontline service reward – a new “frontline service reward” to recognise the risks frontline staff face. Just as military service personnel receive a deployment allowance of £29 per day on active duty, the same principle should apply to NHS and care staff putting themselves in danger during the coronavirus epidemic.
• Bereavement and funeral support The NHS has a “death in service” scheme – but it is not as generous as the military’s and many key workers on the coronavirus frontline aren’t eligible. Ministers must ensure every NHS and care worker becomes eligible. The Government should fund it – and Ministers must agree to pay for all the funerals of key workers who died trying to protect others from Covid 19.
• Coronavirus Service Medal All key workers on the coronavirus frontline should get recognition for the risks they have faced, with a new “Coronavirus Service Medal”. They are playing a major role to keep our country safe and it should be properly and formally recognised.