Labour MP Zarah Sultana has urged people to back the Mirror’s campaign to reward NHS staff with cash bonuses.
The Coventry South MP joined calls from senior generals and former PM Tony Blair for a tax-free daily allowance to be paid to frontline staff.
We’re calling on Chancellor Rishi Sunak to introduce a special daily allowance to be paid to nurses, doctors, support staff and care workers who are risking their lives.
The payment would be based on a tax-free allowance given to soldiers in war zones.
She said: “NHS staff are at the frontline of this crisis, fighting on behalf of us all.
“The public’s support for them has been amazing, but health workers need that to be matched by Government action.
“That’s why I’m proud to support the Sunday Mirror’s campaign to get frontline staff a cash bonus and I’ll keep fighting for our key workers to receive the pay rise they deserve.”
Ms Sultana said the government had failed to support NHS staff, and called on Health Secretary Matt Hancock to “consider his position” over his handling of the crisis.
“The Government’s handling of this crisis has been marked by failure after failure. A decade of underfunding had left the NHS unprepared, pandemic warnings were ignored, and the Government has been woefully slow to secure adequate protective personal equipment for NHS staff and to increase testing.
“The Secretary of State has failed NHS staff and he should consider his position.”
She added: “Let’s get people behind this and sign the petition.”
Today the former head of the Army, General Lord Dannatt and ex-Chief of the Defence Staff General Lord Richards joined forces to back the campaign.
Lord Dannatt told the Mirror: “All the talk is about our heroic NHS and care workers on the front line, just as we talked about our brave men and women in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“But the difference is we gave our soldiers an extra daily allowance to fight on our behalf, so why are we not doing the same on the NHS and care front line?”
Lord Richards added: “Those that genuinely serve and sometimes risk their lives for their country must go much higher up the list of those we value most – whether nurses, doctors, soldiers or care workers.”
As of April 2020, army personnel deployed in the most dangerous regions are entitled to a daily tax-free payment of £29.02 on top of their wages for six months, according to the Ministry of Defence.
Nurses start on £24,200 – just £11.63 an hour. That’s less than the £12.60 paid in Germany, £14.80 in Australia, £14.86 in Italy, £18.64 in Norway and £23.95 in Sweden.
Support staff like porters, healthcare assistants and cleaners get just £18,005 a year. Some are so tight for cash they have to rely on foodbanks to get by.
So far more than 171 NHS and private care workers have been killed by Covid-19 – rising by 39 in a week.
Our campaign has already led to a Commons motion being tabled by Labour’s Jon Trickett.
The GMB union, representing more than 100,000 NHS and care staff, is backing our call.
The pay supplement would also recognise paramedics, radiographers, physios, porters, hospital cleaners and catering staff who can be at as much risk as nurses and doctors.