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Coronavirus: Front-line NHS staff deserve extra £29 a day, Lib Dems say

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Front-line NHS staff should be given an extra £29-a-day reward for their service during the coronavirus pandemic, the Lib Dems have said.

Health and care staff could receive a financial bonus like that given to military personnel on active duty, the party suggested.

Acting leader Sir Ed Davey said Downing Street should consider creating a "front-line support package".

The government has said it is working hard to support front-line staff.

The daily financial boost that it suggests would be for the duration of the lockdown, the Lib Dems said, adding that all key workers should also receive a coronavirus service medal.

Since 2010, members of the UK military have been entitled to a daily operational allowance of £29.02 when they are deployed on specific operations in "demanding" conflicts.

The Lib Dems' other proposals include a call to fast-track the procurement of personal protective equipment for health staff.

Sir Ed said several million key workers are "risking their lives to protect others" and that "NHS and care staff are truly on the frontline in this national struggle".

"The top priority for front-line staff is protection," he said.

"We should never ask our military to risk their lives without the proper kit, and we shouldn't be leaving health and care workers without sufficient protective kit either.

"When the country emerges from this crisis, we must also properly recognise those who were willing to serve and make a sacrifice, just as we do with military forces."

Other measures in the initiative include providing more practical help for NHS and care staff such as getting hotels to provide accommodation for key workers self-isolating, or those who have vulnerable people in their household.

And the Lib Dems want the government to pay for the funerals of key workers who have died during the crisis.

The Department of Health has already identified 43 NHS workers who have died with coronavirus, but the total is believed to be more than 50.

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