Freedom of the Borough proposal for local NHS wins backing of Northampton councillors
A motion, agreed at full council last night (June 15) proposed that the local National Health Service be recommended ‘in recognition and appreciation of the outstanding services rendered to the residents of the town during the COVID-19 emergency’.
The motion was supported by all councillors, and now a cross-party working group will be formed and will report on how the honour should to be granted.
The Conservative council leader Councillor Jonathan Nunn proposed the motion, and said: “How splendid is it that we have been standing on our own doorsteps and applauding the NHS for the work they have done? It has shown an extraordinary demonstration of thanks from the public that has been unprecedented.”
It was also seconded by Labour leader Councillor Danielle Stone, who added: “What a jewel in the crown of Britain the NHS is. We have seen that daily in our own communities with the huge amount of work and safety they have provided.
“We need to make sure that the NHS goes forward with a more secure foundation than it has at the minute. I’m pleased that the Government relieved the NHS of its debt and we need to look at things such as pay grades and career pathways. But this is a huge first step.”
As well as individuals such as Diana, Princess of Wales, the freedom of the borough has been bestowed on organisations and institutions. Both the fire and rescue service and the police force have been awarded it, while in 2014 the army’s 9th/12th Royal Lancers Regiment was awarded the honour.
The cross-party group is being set up to honour as much of the NHS as possible, and work out the logistics of doing so.
Liberal Democrat leader Councillor Sally Beardsworth: “We totally support this. Where would we be without the NHS? Myself and my husband would probably not be here, as would many who have had treatment. They have been wonderful at this time, risking their lives to save others.”