In response to the Coronavirus, we have been told to stay at home to protect the NHS and save lives. Thousands of us are now working from home, but we need to remember that not everybody can. The amazing people who deliver our essential public services are still hard at work, keeping our country going.

In this article, I would like to pay tribute to our essential workers. Without them, life as we know it would grind to a halt.

It has quite rightly become a weekly occurrence in Stockport and beyond that we clap our thanks for frontline health and social care workers. This Thursday clap has now been extended to all essential workers, a move that I have welcomed.

The Coronavirus crisis has highlighted the essential nature of the jobs worked by so many. These jobs often belong to the most overworked, undervalued and underpaid, a stain on our society before Coronavirus hit, but a fact that is even more shameful now that we are in the midst of a national lockdown.

Lockdown has confined most of us to our homes, but those who deliver our essential public services are busier than ever. I am talking about our brilliant frontline health and social care workers, but also those who work for our armed forces, charities, communication and utility companies, environmental and public health bodies, the funeral industry, local authorities, the police, prisons, schools, the transport industry, and the many more who deliver essential public services. Of exceptional importance are behind-the-scenes factory workers, lorry drivers and supermarket staff who are producing and distributing food, drink and essential goods across the nation.

I would like to thank these essential workers on behalf of Stockport and the country for all that they are doing to keep us safe, healthy and happy. You are appreciated. Your contributions cannot and will not be forgotten when normal life resumes.

An impressive amount of support has been extended to essential workers from the people of Stockport. Essential workers have been afforded priority shopping provisions, homecooked meals have been delivered to NHS hospitals, and children have been leaving drawings and messages of thanks to refuge collectors each and every week.

I am so proud of how our community have supported essential workers and each other during these difficult times. After lockdown has been lifted, let’s continue to be there for others in the way that essential workers have been here for us when we have needed them the most.

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