By Tony Winterburn • 30 November 2020 • 20:08
Scottish Government to Give NHS and Social Care Workers £500 ‘thank you’ Payment For Their ‘Extraordinary Service’.
Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced that every NHS and social care worker in Scotland is due to receive a £500 “thank you” payment- she announced the move during her address to the SNP conference.
She said applause and recognition shown to frontline workers earlier in the pandemic “was never enough”. Negotiations are currently underway to increase pay for NHS staff, but they “deserve recognition now”, Ms Sturgeon said. “I can announce today that, on behalf of us all, the Scottish Government will give every full-time NHS and adult social care worker £500 as a one-off thank-you payment for their extraordinary service in this toughest of years.”
She added there were “no strings attached” to the payment. However, the Scottish Government does not have the power itself to make the payment tax-free so Ms Sturgeon is calling on UK PM Boris Johnson to ensure “NHS heroes” are not taxed on their payment. The first minister is also setting out the argument for having another Scottish independence referendum if her party wins in the Holyrood elections next year.
“We have a right, if a majority of us want it, to choose that future. That inalienable right of self-determination cannot, and will not, be subject to a Westminster veto,” she told SNP members at the party’s conference.
Meanwhile, a £100 million fund recently announced by the Scottish Government has been described by poverty campaigners as a “lifeline” for struggling families over winter. Ms Sturgeon said part of it will go towards £100 payments to families with children who receive free school meals. It is understood that the payments will be made as cash grants, allowing recipients to decide what they will be spent on.
“Families will know best what they need,” the First Minister said. “That’s not for the government to decide.”
John Dickie, the director of the Child Poverty Action Group (CPAG), said: “This will be a hugely welcome lifeline for the tens of thousands of families across Scotland who have been hammered by the economic impact of coronavirus.
“It starts to build the bridge that is needed to prevent families from going under before the full roll-out of the Scottish Child Payment in 2022. It comes when families have faced a year of increased costs and falling incomes as a result of the pandemic with far, far too many forced to rely on food banks and charity hardship funds.”
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