Updated: Jan 4, 2021
These are extraordinary times. Worrying times. Times where we adapt to life lived out in our homes, through jittery video calls, and anxious trips out for essential items. While we wait for the world to return to ‘normal’, we have an opportunity to ask what ‘normal’ we want back.
I spent twenty-five years in the NHS – in clinical practice and running services. Throughout, one of the most important people in any team was the ward cleaner. If they were not up to standard, then everyone else’s efforts suffered.
"We cannot return to millions in bankers’ bonuses, whilst imposing low wages and poor-working conditions on the very people who carried us through the darkest of times."
Over the last few weeks, where would we be without our key workers? Supermarket staff, carers, police officers, transport workers, and every single person working in our health service – some who have sadly paid the ultimate price.
So, however inadequate it feels, to each and every one of you I give my heartfelt thanks.
But in these times, is saying thank you enough? A badge for carers, announced by Matt Hancock, the English Health Secretary, is certainly not enough.
Our new normal must rebalance how we view our world, and how we reward and value workers. We cannot return to millions in bankers’ bonuses, whilst imposing low wages and poor-working conditions on the very people who carried us through the darkest of times.
That’s why, as a start, I have written to the Prime Minister calling for tax relief for key workers, so they don’t lose the financial reward of their selfless efforts working extra hours to keep us safe.
Last week, I also wrote to the Chancellor demanding faster and better financial support for businesses and workers. My letter was signed by 35 MPs across several political parties.
I wrote the letter after lots of people in the Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath constituency got in touch to raise concerns about their future. They were frustrated – who wouldn’t be? – by the heal-dragging of the UK Government in delivering its promised support.
Since my letter, the Chancellor has announced that he is extending the eligibility date of the furlough scheme. Meaning, in theory at least, that thousands more employees can receive much-needed financial support that they were previously denied.
This was a key demand in my letter – so a good win and something that will help workers not only in my constituency, but across Fife and beyond.
Talking of work, the lockdown has shown that many of us can work from home.
My office has seen a 350 per cent increase in weekly cases. We’re working flat-out to support people and we’re doing it from our kitchens, living rooms, and bedrooms.
We’re open for business, so if I can be of any help, please drop me an email or give my team a call:
firstname.lastname@example.org 07874 933302
Story covered in the Central Fife Times, see here.