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Rutland MP Alicia Kearns: Public sector workers make a vital contribution and deserve pay rise

The pandemic has underlined what we always knew- that our public sector workers make a vital contribution to our country and communities, and are always there for us to rely on when we need them, writes Rutland MP Alicia Kearns.

I am so very pleased that the Government has announced that almost 900,000 public sector workers will rightly receive an above-inflation pay rise, with teachers and doctors seeing the largest rise at 3.1 per cent and 2.8 per cent. I welcome that this reflects their dedication, hard work and contribution to our country.

In my last article, I touched upon the Government’s proud record of promoting and defending human rights both at home and abroad. This is ever-more pertinent when it comes to China, who flagrantly continue to breach their international obligations and the well-established norms of the international rules based order. This week, the Government has again sharpened its response to China’s imposition of its security law on the people of Hong Kong.

Rutland MP Alicia Kearns
Rutland MP Alicia Kearns

The Foreign Secretary introduced two further measures; the extension of the arms embargo applied to mainland China to Hong Kong alongside an immediate end to our extradition treaty with Hong Kong - which I had called for. I believe these measures are necessary, targeted and proportionate to curtail China’s violation of international law in the region.

I also continue my work with Government to highlight the plight of Xinjiang’s Uyghur community. This week I coordinated MPs from a number of allied nations to co-author an article calling on our Governments to work together to secure an end to Chinese violations of human dignity and international law in Xinjiang Province through co-ordinated international action.

The international community has failed before to uphold its obligations and to stop appalling crimes against humanity. We can and must do better.

I will continue to speak out for the Uyghur people because we are witnessing a genocide and I must use my voice to do all I can to stop it.

Since my last article, I’ve continued my work to find a legislative route to end the practice of LGBTQ+ conversion therapy. I’ve been working with the Equalities Office and have set out a legal framework that I believe would best protect victims, hold perpetrators to account and do as much as we can to end the practice. I was utterly delighted on Monday when the Prime Minister confirmed the Government’s will ban this abhorrent practice and bring forward plans to prohibit it - I hope before the end of the year.

As we all begin to enjoy exploring our country again and spending time with our loved ones, I know that we can finally begin to feel some semblance of normality. It’s wonderful to see people coming together safely in our pubs, parks and town centres, and I truly hope the worst is behind us.

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