Lib Dems call for frontline workers to receive ‘service reward’ over coronavirus efforts like military personnel

Nurses outside the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, London, to salute local heroes during the natio

Nurses outside the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital, London, to salute local heroes during the nationwide Clap for Carers NHS initiative to applaud NHS workers and carers fighting the coronavirus pandemic. Photograph: Aaron Chown/PA. - Credit: PA

The Liberal Democrats have called for a £29-a-day 'frontline service reward' for those helping to tackle the coronavirus pandemic, just like the bonus paid to military personnel on active duty.

The frontline service reward would be for the duration of the lockdown, the party said, adding that all key workers should also receive a coronavirus service medal.

The move is part of a 'frontline support package' unveiled by the Lib Dems, and includes calls to fast track the procurement of personal protective equipment (PPE).

Other measures in the initiative include providing more practical help for NHS and care staff such as getting hotels to provide accommodation for key workers self-isolating, our who have vulnerable people in their household.

And the Lib Dems want the government to pay for the funerals of key workers who died trying to protect others from Covid-19.

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Acting Lib Dem leader Sir Ed Davey said: 'The fight against coronavirus is seeing several million key workers risking their lives to protect others. NHS and care staff are truly on the frontline in this national struggle - putting themselves in danger and working long shifts.

'In our hospitals, care homes, hospices and in the wider health and care sector, an army of workers are protecting us.

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'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.

'When the country emerges from this crisis, we must also 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.

'There are many low-paid workers on the coronavirus frontline, and we must show our gratitude.'

The party is also calling for all foreign national NHS workers risking their lives during the covid-19 pandemic to be awarded indefinite leave to remain.

The call follows reports that doctors, nurses and paramedics will automatically have their visas extended, free of charge, for one year.

Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesperson Christine Jardine said: 'There is a moral principle here. If someone is prepared to risk their life for this country, they must be allowed to live in it. All foreign national NHS workers fighting for our lives during the Covid-19 pandemic are heroes. They should be awarded indefinite leave to remain.'

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