Cleaners have been doing vital work during the pandemic and deserve decent pay

Business of the House
16th December 2021.

Kevin Brennan Labour, Cardiff West
May I echo what the Leader of the House said in praise of the staff of this House and, in particular, the cleaners? When I was first elected to public office in 1991, on Cardiff City Council, I took my mother Beryl, who is now 92 and who was a cleaner, to Cardiff city hall to see its opulent marble splendour. Her reaction to that was to say, “Imagine having to clean this.” We should all bear that in mind in politics. So may we have a debate on the vital work that cleaners do, often in the wee hours of the morning, to clean our hospitals, shops and offices, and even to clean up after No. 10 Christmas parties, and on the need not just to praise them, but to pay them decent pay so that they are the ones who do not have to go in search of second jobs?

Jacob Rees-Mogg Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons
May I pay a warm tribute to the hon. Gentleman’s mother, Beryl, for ensuring that her son is always so well turned out, among other things? Clearly, he is calling to mind the fact that cleanliness is next to godliness. I am so grateful that he has picked up on this point, as I was really impressed, and to some extent felt rather guilty, that the people working throughout the pandemic in this House every day were the cleaners, who are probably among the lowest-paid in this House. We should be grateful to them. I can also reassure him that by raising the national living wage to £9.50 next year, and giving nearly 2 million families an extra £1,000 a year through our cut to the universal credit taper and the increase to work allowances, exactly the sort of people we are trying to help will be helped.