Thank you for contacting me about the effect of coronavirus on the country.
The outbreak of the virus has had a significant impact on the social and economic life of the country. We have given up the freedoms that we once took for granted and have faced restrictions to our way of life. As the country opens up again, I wish to express my admiration for the resilience and courage of the British people during these difficult times. I am grateful for the efforts of NHS staff, care workers and other key workers. I know that the entire nation is thankful for their work as you and I both are.
I fully support the Prime Minister’s announcement of a UK Commission on Covid Commemoration. The Commission will be above party politics and will remember the loved ones we have lost, the bravery of our NHS and frontline workers, the genius of our vaccine developers and the sacrifices millions of people have made every day during the pandemic. I also support the plan for a memorial in St Paul’s Cathedral and I am glad to note that a virtual Book of Remembrance has been published online by the Chapter of St. Paul's. This is available at the following address: www.rememberme2020.uk.
National Day of Prayer: Prayer has been important for many of my constituents during the coronavirus outbreak and I support those who wish to hold a day of prayer to remember those who have lost their lives during the pandemic.
Death in service and life insurance: The families of eligible NHS workers who have died from the coronavirus in the course of their work will receive a £60,000 payment as part of the NHS’s death in service scheme. This has been extended to cover full, part-time and locum NHS and public health workers as well as NHS support staff and social care workers. I recognise your wish to see this extended to other victims of the coronavirus but this lump sum currently only applies to those working in the health service.
This has been our biggest challenge since World War II. The suffering caused by the virus has been felt keenly by families and communities across the country. We will never forget the sadness or anxiety of this period which has been unprecedented in peacetime. We must continue our efforts to control the virus in order to save lives and prevent more loss.
As a Government Whip, I do not, by convention, sign any Early Day Motions, as doing so is likely to breach the Ministerial Code’s rules on collective responsibility.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.
Craig Whittaker MP