Thank you to everyone who has contacted me about the extraordinary work of health and care professionals during the COVID-19 pandemic. I support calls for the Government to recognise and reward NHS and care staff with a guarantee of a decent pay rise.

Health and social care workers have been at the heart of the fight against coronavirus, working day and night to protect the NHS and save lives. They do so much to make our health service one to be proud of and they deserve our respect, admiration and full support.

I share the disappointment felt by many in our constituency that the Chancellor has announced a pay freeze for millions of public sector workers. I do not believe this decision is fair to those frontline workers who have given so much throughout this pandemic. While NHS staff will be exempt from this freeze, the Government confirmed that decisions on their pay would not be reviewed until the spring, when the current pay deal ends.

Instead of waiting until later this year, when staff on the Agenda for Change scheme were already due to have their pay reviewed, I believe the Government should show NHS staff the same commitment they have shown our country throughout this pandemic. The Government must commit to the pay talks that NHS workers deserve now and put together a proper solution for recruitment and retention.

As we know, valuing our NHS and care workforce through fair pay and conditions is crucial to tackling vacancies.

I believe that any new deal for NHS staff must be agreed as soon as possible, in recognition of their bravery and the sacrifices they have made during the pandemic. More widely, I will continue to campaign against the Government’s proposed pay freeze for millions of other public sector workers, including care workers. For too long, many of those on the frontline have been undervalued and underpaid. I believe we owe them and the whole country a vision of a better future when we come through this pandemic.

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