Firstly, I want to pay tribute to the incredible work being done right now by our essential workers in such difficult circumstances. You will see the countless thank you pictures in our windows because you are keeping us going. Thank you for your incredible efforts.
Here in Salford, coronavirus is having a devastating effect on our communities and our loved ones. I was horrified by data released by the Office for National Statistics in respect of care home deaths on Tuesday 21st April 2020, and further alarmed by the BBC’s recent Panorama program which investigated the circumstances surrounding the Government’s delay in sourcing enough protective equipment (PPE).
Despite repeated assurances on the provision of PPE, Salford is still not receiving the levels it needs from central government nor are there sufficient levels of testing.
It is not enough for the Government to applaud our key workers each Thursday evening, without providing them and those in their care, with the support and protection they need. It’s also upsetting to know that some of those key workers, risking their own safety each day continue to be some of the lowest paid workers in the UK. For example, 58% of care workers in the UK are paid less than the Real Living Wage and they are four times more likely to be on zero-hour contracts. Beyond this crisis there is a real need to give these essential workers the pay and security they deserve.
Beyond care, many others in our city face struggle. From the businesses who have contacted me about difficulties in accessing government support to stay afloat, to the workers frightened about going to work every day in workplaces where social distancing is impossible. Although my office is not open to the public at this time please be assured that we are still here, working by email and by phone to provide any assistance we can so please don’t hesitate to contact me on Rebecca.firstname.lastname@example.org or 0161 425 3738.
But in these difficult times I want to emphasise the commitment, strength and solidarity we’ve seen throughout the City. We’ve seen local distilleries 4Sisters Gin and Hidden Gem Gin making hand sanitiser, local colleges providing protective visors, singers serenading the residents of care homes, neighbours posting notes to help each other and the local council, partners and volunteers coming together to support our communities as part of the Spirit of Salford Network, who are providing everything from food parcels to dog walking (0800 952 1000).
Our City’s motto is ‘the welfare of the people in the highest law’ and this runs deep into the DNA of every person in this city. Together, Salford will get through this and we will emerge stronger and more united.