I HOPE you are well and managing to keep safe at this very difficult time with the ongoing pressures arising from the Covid-19 pandemic.

I continue to be extremely grateful to our front-line workers for everything they do to provide crucial services to us all – but particularly those in greatest need.

Our NHS and social care workers deserve the greatest support we can give them. They have worked constantly through this pandemic with amazing commitment.

I welcomed the setting up of the NHS Scotland Coronavirus Life Assurance Scheme that was introduced as a support for the families of any front line health and social care workers who have sadly died as a result of contracting Covid-19.

This scheme allows these families to access support that includes a one-off lump sum payment of £60,000.

These payments will never be compensation for the loss of a loved one, but are designed to provide financial assistance at an incredibly difficult time.

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I was therefore incensed to find out that the UK Government plans to take this lump sum payment into account when calculating any recipient’s ongoing entitlement to benefits such as Universal Credit and Pension Credit.

This step could see families of bereaved front-line NHS and care workers who are on low income kicked off necessary support.

The UK government is in charge of these regulations, and should act with compassion and exclude these payments from being counted as part of capital rules.

This is easily done, and there is precedent for this from some of the other compensation schemes that are available.

Yet again this is another example of the UK Government’s incompetence and complete lack of understanding of the real world.

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) have rightly demanded the government change their plans.

They said: “The loss of nursing staff due to Covid-19 is tragic. Each one was a huge loss to our profession, to their communities and most of all to their loved ones. The government must address this issue immediately.”

I fully support this campaign and, like them, I demand that, even at this late stage, this shambles of a government sees sense and acts to end this injustice and reverse this mean decision.