Kit Harington’s Real Life Mission

By Danielle Pope

(Image - REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni)
(Image - REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni)
The Game of Thrones star is supporting a cause that’s close to home

He is known to millions around the world as the broody Jon Snow from the hit TV series, Game of Thrones. But outside of the fantasy kingdom of Westeros, actor Kit Harington has a different quest.

The actor is backing a campaign to protect disability care, asking the government to cover years’ worth of back pay for overnight workers who care for the disabled.

The pay dispute comes as UNISON, the union for public service workers, successfully campaigned for carers who provide all-night care to be paid the national minimum wage per hour. Previously, carers would only be paid flat rate of between £20 and £30 a night.

The cause hits close to home for Harington, as his cousin Laurent has Down’s syndrome and autism. “He loves swimming, he loves Zumba, he loves dancing, going to the disco,” Harington told BBC. “He needs to live the life that he loves living.”

Harington is worried that the recent ruling could leave vulnerable people without the support they need.

The backdated bill is around £400 million, and there are fears that this threatens the existence of smaller care providers.

“The charities cannot pay this bill,” said Harington. “If they can’t pay this bill, then people like [Laurent] are going to be left without the care they need, and that just can’t happen.”

Harington has called on the government to foot the bill instead. “Our duty as a society is to care for the most vulnerable in our society. And if this bill is having to be paid by the charities that cannot pay it, the most vulnerable in our society are going to be left without care. That’s not a society I believe in or one that I want to live in.”

The Department for Business Energy and Industrial Strategy released a statement saying, “The government says it will see to minimise any impact on social care provision, while ensuring workers are treated ‘fairly and proportionately.’”


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