Today I’m backing care workers who have been financially affected by COVID-19 and am speaking out for the millions of women who do these badly paid jobs which put them at the greatest risk of exposure to the illness.
With 40 other MPs from six political parties, I’ve signed a public statement of support for care workers. I’m also also encouraging donations to the Care Workers’ Charity Coronavirus Emergency Fund.
There are two million care workers in the UK and far too many of those are not properly protected by a still-too-fragmentary system of Coronavirus support for employees. Many care workers don’t earn enough to receive Statutory Sick Pay and if they can get it, the chancellor of the exchequer is on record as saying he couldn’t live on it. And if it’s not to be sick pay, the alternative for care workers is the equally miserly Universal Credit. No care worker should suffer financially if they have to self isolate, so I commend Care Workers’ Charity for setting up this fund.
Recent analysis has shown it is low paid women employed in roles such as social care who are at the highest risk of coronavirus exposure.
This pandemic is shining a light on how unequal and unjust so many aspects of our economy are. We can no longer take for granted the dedication to public service of the millions of women in occupations such as care work, nursing and pharmacy. Not only do these jobs have the highest risk of exposure to COVID-19, but they also are underpaid and done in the main by women. We should pay these workers properly for the valuable work they do.
Donations to the Care Workers Charity Coronavirus Emergency Fund can be made online at the linked page here: https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/coronaviruscareworkersfund and below is the full text of the statement of support for care workers I’ve signed.
“It is vital that we support our invaluable social care workers who stand together with our doctors and nurses at the frontline of the coronavirus crisis, caring for those in society who are most vulnerable and most susceptible to the virus. We, the undersigned, fully support the Care Workers Charity Coronavirus Emergency Fund, launched by the Care Workers’ Charity (CWC).
This fund has so far raised almost £100,000, including leaders in the sector donating 20% of their salary to care workers over the next three months. It is heart-warming and extraordinary that so many people have donated. Just as we saw over half a million people volunteer to help the NHS,and millions out clapping for our NHS last week, times like this are a real testament to the generosity of the British people.
Now, in this time of national emergency, it is more crucial than ever that we come together and support each other. We need our care workers: there are two million of them who form a central pillar of our society and are pivotal in our efforts to push back the huge demands being placed on our public services. We must make sure that, should a care worker have to self-isolate, they will be supported through any financial hardship they may suffer.
Our social care system is often an afterthought, with our care workers the unsung heroes.
There is a real need for long-term fundamental reform. However, it is clear that social care is in urgent need of help, quickly and directly. We commend Care Workers Charity for setting up this fund, and we commend you, the public, who have shown once again that you can come together in a time of crisis and support those in need.”