Thousands of key workers died during the pandemic looking after us.
In the public services nurses, care workers, cleaners and more made the ultimate sacrifice to help others.
This was all the more heart-breaking because for years before COVID-19, these public service workers have been undervalued, underpaid and mainly invisible.
Years of neglect made the effect of the pandemic so much worse. One example of that neglect was the PPE shortage that emerged when the pandemic hit.
Another is the fragmented nature of care services for the elderly and vulnerable – where staff frequently experience low pay, insecure employment and impossible workloads to manage.
In our NHS a shortage of nurses and other key staff means there are fewer people to look after patients.
This is the result of more than 10 years of spending cuts and austerity. The damage to all the vital services that make our communities strong and resilient, including schools, policing and local government, is plain to see.
Despite all this, key workers in our public services pulled through for all of us.
As we begin to return to normal, it’s crucial for all of us that the same mistakes aren’t made again and we don’t return to undervaluing our public services and the people who provide them.
This autumn, politicians in Westminster, Holyrood, Cardiff and Stormont will be making important decisions about the future funding of our public services
Early signs suggest the UK government wants to pitch the public sector against private sector and will ignore long term structural problems that got us to where we are now.