Around 51,500 of the poorest paid public sector workers – half within the education sector – will benefit from the allowance payment. For the past six months, Palestinian public sector workers have had to struggle on sporadic pay, or worse still, none at all apart from very basic allowances because of the Palestinian financial crisis.
Announcing the new funding, International Development Secretary Hilary Benn said:
”We are now a month into the Palestinian school term, yet many teachers and other public workers are struggling to make ends meet without pay. Thousands are on strike affecting education services for many of the 750,000 children in public schools.
”Basic services such as water, sanitation and electricity are an essential part of life but are unreliable and intermittent. Yet people need water to cook and proper sanitation to prevent disease, and electricity to power water supplies and keep hospital equipment running.
”The international community must step in. Today’s funding for allowances will help give temporary security for these workers and their families. We hope that this will contribute to the continuation of important services for the Palestinian people.
”But while aid will make a vital difference to people’s livelihoods, as long as the violence continues, so will the suffering. The latest increase in conflict between Fatah and Hamas is of grave concern. We need a long term two-state solution for Israel and the Palestinian people, which we continue to work towards.”
The UK also committed a further £3m towards water, sanitation and electricity services, following a pledge at the Stockholm conference in August, which brings the UK’s total commitment to the Temporary International Mechanism (TIM) to £9m. This mechanism ensures that aid goes directly to the Palestinian people rather than the Hamas-led government.