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MP Stone joins cross-party effort to protect social care workers

By Matt Leslie

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Far North MP, Jamie Stone, has signed a cross-party letter to the Secretary of State for Health and Social care, urging him to protect social care workers employed on zero-hours contracts.

Mr Stone, who is the Westminster MP for the seat of Caithness, Sutherland & Easter Ross, put his signature to the letter following concerns that care-workers on zero-hour contracts would lose their wages should they contract the coronavirus and be forced off work in order not to infect patients in their care.

Lead signatory of the letter, Labour MP Helen Hayes said: "Currently, care workers on zero-hour contracts are not being granted the same access to sick pay as NHS bank staff and sub-contractors.

"NHS trusts have been advised to pay all staff in full in order to ensure that they self-isolate when necessary.

"Social care workers who are advised to self-isolate face the difficult choice of financial hardship or continuing to work and risk passing on the coronavirus to their patients.

"It is vital that social care workers have the same sick pay arrangements as NHS staff."

Mr Stone added: "It is right that the Government do what they can to protect social care workers during this national crisis.

We support all aspects of our health and social care system at this critical time

"It goes without saying that they should have the same sick pay arrangements as NHS staff, so they are not discouraged from self-isolating for fear of financial loss.

"I will continue to work with other parties and the Government to ensure we support all aspects of our health and social care system at this critical time."

Meanwhile, Mr Stone, has also co-sponsored a cross-party Parliamentary motion urging the Conservative Government to suspend negotiations with the European Union until the COVID-19 pandemic subsides.

The United Kingdom had been negotiations with the EU with regards to obtaining a final settlement following the UK's exit. However, Mr Stone has urged the government to put those talks on the back-burner until the coronavirus pandemic comes to an end.

He said: "I support all efforts to work cross-party at a time of national crisis, but the Prime Minister must also accept that we need to work closely with the EU if we are going to defeat Coronavirus.

"This is not about political point-scoring. It’s about making sure we are doing everything we can to mitigate the effects of the pandemic.

"I for one would far rather our Civil Service were able to focus on Coronavirus than on negotiating a future agreement and the UK’s ability to replace EU frameworks and agencies. It’s simply a matter of priorities."

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