POLITICIANS across Copeland have called for the scrapping of tuition fees for student nurses, midwives and paramedics who have been in the forefront of the fight against the Coronavirus.

The Whitehaven News is part of a nationwide campaign by parent company Newsquest urging the Government to waive this year’s tuition fees for essential student workers like these, who are currently working during the pandemic.

The petition has won the support of over 700 people across the country so far with cross-party support from politicians across the UK.

Some of the student healthcare workers are finishing unpaid placements while others are now paid as contracted band four level nurses.

Councillor Michael McVeigh, leader of the Labour group on Copeland Borough Council, said: “Of course, anything to help in these difficult times, it is imperative.

“This is something that we would fully endorse.”

Councillor Mike Hawkins said: “I agree with the Labour Party’s position, the love and outpourings for NHS and key workers, this is something that cannot go away, and after this they will need to be funding proper wages.

“When I hear people say they are low skilled, they are not low skilled, they are the important jobs at the moment.

“So anything that can help them fine, I don’t just want people to clap for them on Thursday.

“Things can’t go back to how they were and we need to have a national conversation about it.”

Councillor Tom Higgins added: “They should not be paying these fees anyway that is my opinion.”

MP for Copeland Trudy Harrison said: “I think Covid-19 has highlighted the value of frontline workers and included in these are those in the healthcare sector.

“But it is also important to note that many frontline workers have been called into action over recent weeks and I pay tribute to each and everyone.”

“There are financial measures in place for nurses to be able to study towards their degree.”

She added that she was keen to support medical schools.

Recently Conservative minister for care Helen Whately said: “There are currently no plans to reimburse tuition fees and students will continue to be required to pay fees for their final term.

“The Government is extremely grateful to all students who are choosing to opt in to work in the National Health Service during this extremely difficult time and will be ensuring all students who do so are rewarded fairly for their hard work.

“Nursing students who opt in will receive a salary and automatic NHS pension entitlement at the appropriate band. They will also still receive their student maintenance loan and Learning Support Fund payments.”

To sign the petition go online: www.change.org/p/government-fair-deal-for-students-nurses-paramedics-and-midwives-on-front-line-of-coronavirus-fight