talkRADIO’s Julia Hartley-Brewer has challenged the government’s decision to scrap the Immigration Health Surcharge for NHS workers.
Foreign nationals have to pay the fee to use the NHS. Boris Johnson exempted health and care workers yesterday, saying staff already make a “fantastic contribution” to the service.
Speaking on talkRADIO, Labour's Jonathan Ashworth welcomed the move and said migrant NHS workers were doing a “tremendous service”.
But Julia argued that the UK should “stop sanctifying people who are just doing a job.”
“I’m not criticising NHS workers wherever they come from…but let’s stop this idea that people are coming to this country to save our NHS. They’re coming here for a job,” she said.
Mr Ashworth argued that those coming over to start a new life were contributing to society and paying taxes, therefore paying for the health service.
WATCH: Julia accuses the government of 'gesture politics'
Julia also questioned why the exemption was only directed at those in the health sector.
“I understand the great work that people in the NHS do but lots of other people also do great work that helps us,” she put to Cabinet minister Brandon Lewis.
“It doesn’t make any sense, other than gesture politics,” she added.
The Northern Ireland Secretary responded: “There are people from all over the world who have played a huge part in our country and our economy and our communities.
“The difference is, those who are working in the health service, it’s that positive circle. They’re coming into our health service to support and help our health service.”
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