The Save Lewisham Hospital Campaign has launched a new video on the 72nd Birthday for the NHS on Sunday, 5th July 2020. The Campaign say: “In the middle of a global pandemic, with 65,000 deaths in the UK, some thanks and thoughts on the NHS 72nd birthday.” The Lewisham & Greenwich NHS Choir provide the atmospheric backing track ‘And so it goes’ from their album Something Inside So Strong.
On this day, The Observer reports that the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rushi Sunak refuses a £10 billion cash injection as Ministers have been warned that a second surge of Covid 19 infections let alone the now usual ‘winter pressures’ will leave the NHS “crippled” and “perilously unprepared”.
The Government promised that the NHS would receive “whatever it needs” and NHS bosses claim that this pledge is to be broken now.
Further claims that the Government’s chronic underfunding of the NHS will inevitably lead on to the fragmentation and privatisation of the NHS have been made.
Interestingly, in the video a resident reflects by saying:
“Stop using Covid as a cover to push through a restructuring of the NHS without public consultation.”
Periodically, when cash has been tight in the NHS proposals surface to downgrade Lewisham Hospital’s A&E Department.
Brian Fisher, a retired Lewisham GP, in the video says: “We continue to defend you [NHS] and fight for publicly funded social care.”
In that spirit, Cllr Alan Hall has written to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak supporting Citizen’s UK asking for social care workers to be paid the London Living Wage locally.
Citizen’s UK say: “Careworkers have been on the frontline of the UK’s fight against COVID-19, but a Real Living Wage would put them at the heart of our economic recovery too. Increasing pay to £9.30 an hour (£10.75 in London) would enable a million low-paid workers to start spending in local businesses and communities up and down the country.”
The text of the letter is below.
Dear Chancellor Rt Hon Rishi Sunak MP,
On the 72nd NHS Birthday, I am writing to you as a constituent to ask for your support for Citizens UK’s Living Wage for Careworkers Charter, which aims to ensure careworkers are paid the real Living Wage of £9.30 an hour (£10.75 in London).
Those in the social care sector are at the frontline of the fight against Covid-19 and I know in our community so many care recipients and their families value their vital work.
We have all been ‘clapping for carers’ on Thursday evenings in recognition of the danger they face, and yet they are often paid the minimum wage (also known as the National Living Wage) of £8.72 an hour.
Citizens UK is calling for the UK government to invest the £1.4 billion that the Resolution Foundation estimates it would cost for every care sector worker, who delivers publicly–funded care, to be paid the real Living Wage of £9.30 per hour. This would allow careworkers to live with greater dignity and to escape from poverty pay.
We know that the public, commissioners of social care such as local authorities, employers of care workers, and recipients of care would all like care workers to be paid the real Living Wage, but to do that we need additional investment from the UK Government.
I really hope we can also count on your support for our campaign. Please let me know whether or not we can add your name to Citizens UK’s Living Wage for Careworkers Charter, which you can find below.
Citizens UK’s Living Wage for Careworkers Charter:
We all rely on the one million careworkers on the frontline of the UK’s fight against the pandemic. Careworkers have worked tirelessly throughout Covid-19 to look after the most vulnerable in our society – and have found themselves at risk, often without adequate PPE, and without the esteem afforded to NHS workers.
Over half of frontline careworkers earn below the voluntary Living Wage of £9.30 an hour (£10.75 in London) and are struggling to keep their heads above water.
As careworkers, care recipients, care commissioners, council leaders, politicians and community leaders, we all agree that no careworker deserves poverty pay. We have applauded careworkers on Thursday evenings – now is the time to match our applause with a guarantee that they will earn enough to live a decent life.
We call on the UK Government to provide the £1.4 billion in additional funding so that every care sector worker that delivers publicly funded care can be paid at least the voluntary Living Wage of £9.30 an hour (£10.75 in London).
Cllr Alan Hall