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Calls for frontline health staff to receive ‘thank you’ payment of at least £500

Council will be asked to lend its support to calls for frontline health workers to receive a ‘thank you’ payment of at least £500.

DUP Councillor Mark Baxter will table a motion on Monday night asking for Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council to recognise “the importance of our National Health Service and heroic contribution of our health and social cares workers, and care home workers, throughout the pandemic”.

The motion adds: “[that this Council] expresses our thanks for their commitment to and care for our community and will write to the Health Minister Robin Swann MLA asking him to administer a ‘thank you’ payment of at least £500 as a practical demonstration of our gratitude.”

Speaking to Armagh I, Councillor Baxter added: “This has been an incredibly difficult year for everyone and no money could repay the debt of gratitude we owe to all our frontline staff particularly who work in healthcare who put themselves in harm’s way on a daily basis in the fight against this horrible plague.

“I’m bringing this motion forward on behalf of the party to ask the health minister to recognise those staff in a practical way.

“Scotland have already committed to a similar scheme and it’s only fitting that we investigate a similar measure.”

In November, Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced a one-off payment for Scotland’s lifesavers and care-givers on the frontline throughout the coronavirus pandemic.

A pro rated payment of £500 will be made as soon as is practicable to all NHS and social care workers employed since March 17, 2020 – including staff who have had to shield, or who have since retired.

This investment of around £180 million will see over 300,000 staff gain some benefit from this bonus.

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