BORIS Johnson has been urged to follow Scotland’s lead and reward England’s NHS heroes with a one-off £500 “thank-you” payment. 

The SNP’s Richard Thomson also asked the Prime Minister to lift the tax on the Scottish Government’s bonus, announced by Nicola Sturgeon on Monday at the SNP’s annual conference.

The payment will be funded from the Scottish Government’s Covid-19 support package and applies to employees employed since March 17.

However, while the Scottish Government can make the payment, they don’t have powers over taxes to make it tax-free.

In her speech, the First Minister urged the Prime Minister to act. She said: “Please allow our health and care heroes to keep every penny of Scotland’s thank you to them. Do not take any of it away in tax.”

READ MORE: Scottish NHS bonus: Tories try to steal credit from Nicola Sturgeon

In the Commons, Thomson pushed the Prime Minister for an answer. “This week, the Scottish Government announced a £500 bonus scheme for our health and social care heroes who have helped to care for us through the pandemic,” he said.

“The Scottish Conservatives have been trying to claim some reflected credit for that policy over the past few hours.

“The Prime Minister is not responsible for health in Scotland, but he is responsible for it in England, so will he put his Government’s money where his Scottish colleagues’ mouths clearly are and match that bonus initiative for health and social care workers in England?

“Will he instruct the Chancellor to ensure that, whenever a bonus scheme like that is introduced, the Treasury will not try to snaffle back the tax from it, but let it be paid taxfree?”

The Tory replied: “That is a matter for the Scottish Government, who have the fiscal freedom to do that.”

READ MORE: FACT CHECK: 'SNP Government should top up £500 NHS bonus to make it tax-free'

Meanwhile, the Prime Minister was also warned that gaps in his government’s Covid support packages have led to people taking their own lives.

He’s was asked to U-turn and help the “excluded” who haven’t received any help during the coronavirus pandemic.

SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford said the current support “simply isn’t good enough,” and, he added, had grim consequences for those left with little.

It’s thought there are around three million people ineligible for any of the Treasury’s packages because they are self-employed, freelancers or company directors.

At Prime Minister’s Questions, Blackford told the Commons: “There are millions who still haven’t had a single penny of support from this UK Government. Yesterday I met with Excluded UK who represent many of these three million citizens.

“For the last nine months, the excluded have been living without any help, without any hope and it is now tragically costing lives.

“They told me something genuinely shocking. They are aware of eight people who have taken their own lives in the last 10 days. Eight people in 10 days.”

Blackford added: “We are now a little over three weeks from Christmas. These people need help. Will the Prime Minister commit to looking again at the support package for the excluded to ensure no-one, but no-one, is left behind?”

Johnson responded that he was sympathetic to people during “a very tough time for the country”.

He said: “We’ve put in a huge package of support and he knows this, but I must repeat this for self-employed people across the country, and I know there are hard-to-reach people, but they are also supported with the increases in Universal Credit and the many other means of support that are currently on offer.”