In a few hours time at 8pm many of us will do what we did last week and the week before at the same time to applaud the people who are working very hard on our behalf to try to hold back COVID-19 from its impact and damage to our nation. As Emily Maitlis stated last night on Newsnight these workers are some of the most exposed and low paid people in our nation. Her full text is below, and it is vital that all of our MPs who are not currently battling to improve their health need to pay attention to all that she said and to the extent to which so many people are clapping for a new way of protecting these people through the provision of PPE and virus testing and many of us (around 5,000 in the last 15 hours) have signed this petition which a fantastic person called Gill Sare has set out to call for our nation to Give non-British citizens who are currently NHS workers automatic citizenship. I would encourage anyone reading this blog to sign it if they have not already done so. The full text of the petition is also listed below. If all of our active MPs can then work out a way of responding to these issues. I would simply like to add to the list of key workers that Emily has referred to by adding Police Officers, Social Workers, Post Office workers and Education workers as they are also facing this challenge in a way that most of us cannot imagine and many of them are also poorly paid.
The language around COVID-19 has sometimes felt trite and misleading. You do not survive the illness through fortitude and strength of character, whatever the Prime Minister’s colleagues will tell us, and the disease is not a great leveller, the consequences of which everyone rich or poor suffers the same. This is a myth which needs debunking those who are on the front line right now bus drivers and shelf stackers, nurses, care home workers, hospital staff and shopkeepers are disproportionately the lower paid members of our workforce. They are more likely to catch the disease because they are more exposed. Those who live in tower blocks and small flats will find the lockdown tougher those in manual jobs will be unable to work from home. This is a health issue with huge ramifications for social welfare and it is a welfare issue with huge ramifications of public health. Tonight we ask what kind of social settlement might need to be put in place to stop the inequalities becoming even more stark?
The Petition states:
Petition Text is: Give NHS workers who are EU and other Nationals automatic UK citizenship if they stay and risk their own lives looking after the British people during the COVID crisis. The NHS is a great institution, but one that has been under great pressure for years. It could not function without staff who come from many different countries. Brexit has already affected morale for many. Due to the COVID pandemic, we are asking these NHS workers to risk their lives to look after the British people while their own families are far away. This is a chance for the British Government and Public to show them how much we appreciate their invaluable contribution to our society.