I am disappointed that I was not called immediately after Jim Shannon, who I found out yesterday supports Leicester City. I encourage him to follow his son’s wisdom and to reconsider that and support the Tractor Boys instead. I will talk to him about that another time.
Yesterday in this place I thanked NHS staff and care workers in Ipswich for their incredible work to save lives during the covid-19 pandemic. I reiterate that gratitude for those professionals as we discuss these petitions to recognise their fantastic work and to consider the pay that they receive.
I mentioned yesterday that these workers have taken on considerable additional risk to their own physical health to help look after the most vulnerable. Most of us can only imagine what it is like for them to deal with many sick and deteriorating patients under such tough conditions, always having the thought in the back of their mind that they could catch the virus themselves and potentially pass it on to their loved ones when they leave work that day.
It is clear to me from the correspondence I have received quite how much my constituents want to thank NHS and care workers. There are a couple of stories that I want to elucidate slightly. One is about the local pub on Woodbridge Road, the Lattice Barn, which right now still faces an uncertain future. It closed its doors and there were lots of questions about its finances and so on, but the first thing that the landlord thought about was local NHS staff and how he could open his doors to nurses and frontline NHS workers. Immediately, he thought not about himself but about how he could support our wonderful NHS workers. I also thank Northgate High School and Ipswich School, where all the pupils worked together to make PPE for our frontline workers.
Yes, a monument or a medal would be a good idea. These things are not insignificant, and I do not think they should be belittled. They do matter, and they are a way of us saying collectively, as a society, “We acknowledge what you’ve done and we will never forget it.” However, I encourage the Government to reflect on the strength of feeling in the country and to consider any way that we can increase pay, particularly for frontline NHS workers and social care staff, at the first opportunity. In particular, we should show everybody who works in the social care sector how much we value them and the work that they do, give those workers the status they deserve, and acknowledge that they have been the best of the best. From the bottom of my heart as the Member of Parliament for Ipswich, thank you.