BORIS Johnson today dismissed calls for free parking for NHS staff.
He told Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer to “take his latest bandwagon and park it free somewhere else”, when asked to extend the policy.
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Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, NHS workers have been granted free hospital parking, but this will start to wind up soon.
Only in a few cases will the free pass to park on hospital grounds be granted, with Sir Keir warning it will add “further insult to injury” for NHS workers.
The Department of Health has said free parking will continue only for “key patient groups and NHS staff in certain circumstances” as the pandemic eases, although no further timeline has been given.
Speaking at Prime Minister’s Questions, Sir Keir said: “The Prime Minister will know this could cost hundreds of pounds a month for our nurses, our doctors and our support staff.
“We owe our NHS workers so much. We all clap for them, we should be rewarding them, not making it more expensive to go to work.
“The Prime Minister must know this is wrong, will he reconsider and rule it out?”
Mr Johnson replied: “The hospital car parks are free for NHS staff for this pandemic, they’re free now, and we’re going to get on with our manifesto commitment to make them free for patients who need them as well.
“The House will know that was never the case under Labour – neither for staff nor patients.
“May I suggest he takes his latest bandwagon and parks it free somewhere else.”
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Earlier, Sir Keir told the Commons: “On Monday, when asked why care home deaths had been so high the Prime Minister said, and I quote, ‘too many care homes didn’t really follow the procedures in the way that they could have’.
“That has caused huge offence to frontline care workers. It has now been 48 hours. Will the Prime Minister apologise to care workers?”
Mr Johnson replied: “The last thing I wanted to do is to blame care workers for what has happened or for any of them to think that I was blaming them because they’ve worked hard, incredibly hard, throughout this crisis, looking after some of the most vulnerable people in our country and doing an outstanding job.”
It comes as Brits can enjoy half-price restaurant meals and cut price day trips this summer as part of a bumper plan to rescue Britain’s coronavirus-ravaged economy.
Rishi Sunak has slashed VAT by a whopping 15 per cent for the hospitality sector to get more Brits out and about to boost the nation after months in lockdown.
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The Chancellor also revealed there will be a stamp duty holiday for homes up to £500,000 to get the housing market moving.
And employers who unfurlough workers and keep them on until January will get a £1,000 bonus.