‘Slap in the face’: Free parking for NHS staff to be scrapped on Friday – ‘tone deaf’
Piers Morgan slams government over NHS parking fee on GMB
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In March 2020, parking fees were waived for staff working in the NHS, but on Thursday, March 31, this is set to change. Health Secretary Sajid Javid announced that free parking for NHS staff will come to an end, as the pandemic has moved to a new stage, with the change coming into effect on Friday.
Unveiling the statement in the Government’s “living with Covid” guidance, he said: “Free parking for NHS staff introduced during the pandemic will also come to an end on 31 March.
“We are delivering on our manifesto commitment to provide free hospital car parking to thousands more NHS patients and visitors.
“Over 94 percent of NHS trusts implementing free car parking for those who need it most, including NHS staff working night shifts.”
Since July 2020, the Government invested around £130million to ensure that free hospital car parking was available to NHS staff for the duration of the pandemic.
The Conservative Party’s 2019 manifesto promised to make parking free for those in greatest need including “disabled people, frequent outpatient attenders and staff working night shifts”.
The Department of Health and Social Care said that the broader policy was temporary and had been introduced “for the duration of the pandemic”.
Mr Javid thanked NHS staff for their work throughout the pandemic, saying they worked “tirelessly”.
He added: “On behalf of the government, I would like to record my thanks to everyone who has worked tirelessly to keep people safe over the last two years and whose efforts have enabled us to move to the next stage of the Covid-19 response.”
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Despite this, many trade unions and NHS staff have slammed the proposals, saying it was disrespectful to charge those who had worked throughout the pandemic.
Responding to the news, Rachel Harrison, national officer for the GMB union, said: “Charging the NHS staff who’ve risked their lives during the pandemic to park at work is a sick joke.”
Another union, Nurses United UK, branded the move as “tone-deaf” and suggested the move is another real-terms pay cut for workers.
Anthony Johnson, the lead organiser for the organisation, said: “This Government continues with their tone-deaf and dangerous policies.
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