Sturgeon’s £500 ‘bonus’ to NHS and social care staff savaged – ‘What about teachers?’

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NHS staff and social care staff have been the main key workers during the coronavirus pandemic and Scotland’s First Minster Nicola Sturgeon has announced plan to say “thank you” to these key workers through a £500 bonus payment.

However, Dr Richard Simpson, a former MSP, has lashed out at Ms Sturgeon’s plans claiming the money should also be given to teachers, despite already getting a pay rise earlier this year, bin men and bus driver who have kept the country running through the pandemic.

He tweeted: “On £500 ‘bonus’ to NHS (150,000)+ Social care staff (200,000) this will cost £175,000,000.

“Which budget is this coming out of?

“What about teachers?

“What about bus drivers?

“What about bin men?

“They all + more kept our society functioning.

“My priority – Those who lost jobs now used foodbanks.”

Millions of schools up and down the country were closed in March when the national lockdown was imposed.

Schools continued with online classes and reopened fully in September, despite objections from teachers’ unions.

Announcing the new funding, Ms Sturgeon said the bonus is a “heartfelt thank you” for their sacrifices during the pandemic.

She said: “So I can announce today that, on behalf of us all, the Scottish Government will give every full time NHS and social care worker £500 as a one-off thank you payment for their extraordinary service in this toughest of years.

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“Those who work part time will get a proportionate share.

“The money will be paid in this financial year and it will be separate from any negotiations about pay for the longer term.

“There are no strings attached.

“Of course, a payment like this can never come close to expressing our full admiration for those who have cared for us so heroically.

“But to our health and care workers, it is a demonstration of what we collectively owe you – and a heartfelt thank you for the sacrifices you have made.”

Earlier this month, Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced school staff and all public sector workers outside the NHS will be subject to a pay freeze.

The Chancellor said he was taking three key steps, awarding NHS workers a pay rise, pausing pay rises in the rest of the public sector and giving pay rises of £250 to the 2.1million public sector workers who earn below the medium national income.

But teachers and unions attacked the move saying school staff deserve a pay rise for their work during the coronavirus pandemic, despite most schools being closed from March to September.

Mr Sunak told MPs: “Taking account of the pay review bodies’ advice, we will provide a pay rise to over a million nurses, doctors and others working in the NHS.

“Second, to protect jobs, pay rises in the rest of the public sector will be paused next year.

“But third, we will protect those on lower incomes.

“The 2.1 million public sector workers who earn below the median wage of £24,000, will be guaranteed a pay rise of at least £250.”

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