COUNCIL staff could be given £50 gift vouchers for their work during the coronavirus pandemic, according to a report.

The workforce will be given vouchers to spend in The Mall or Blackburn Market in recognition of their efforts.

In a report of executive member decisions at Blackburn with Darwen Council’s it was mentioned that staff had had to 'adapt to new ways of working to ensure essential services continued.'

It is expected approximately 2,000 council staff will benefit resulting in a one-off cost of around £100,000 to be met from existing budgets.

Cllr Mohammed Khan, leader of Blackburn with Darwen Council, who presented the report, said: "This last year has been extremely difficult for all of us.

"As Leader I am proud of how this Council has responded to these testing times.

"We are keeping essential services running as much as possible, protecting the most vulnerable and supporting our communities and businesses as much as we can.

"The pandemic has touched every part of our lives. It has affected us physically and emotionally. All our staff as key workers have continued to rise to the challenge and serve our residents with empathy and distinction.

"We have had to respond to decisions the government have made and implement changes with little or no notice which has not been easy. "This has been achieved through our workforce’s hard work and dedication.

"Staff are paid for what they are trained to do and for the hours they work, but I believe it is right to give this small token as an additional thank you this year for what they have achieved for us during this pandemic so far.

"This is about going beyond normal expectations and keeping going not for any expected additional reward but to ensure we in our Borough continue to receive good services and we can continue to protect and support those most vulnerable.
"I also want to ensure that their thank you can also support businesses in the borough with a focus on local retail/markets outlets.

"Every eligible member of staff will receive a £50 Mall or Market voucher.

"As public servants, our staff don’t look for such rewards, they are driven by a sense of duty but I strongly feel it is important to acknowledge their efforts with something tangible, however small, to say thank you."