NHS workers deserve a fair pay rise. Workers across our public services faced unprecedented challenges during the pandemic, and none more so than our NHS workers who have been at the forefront of our response to Covid-19.
As you are aware, the Department for Health and Social Care’s submission to the NHS Pay Review Body, and the doctors’ and dentists’ review body, included a 1% pay award for NHS staff in 2021/22. With inflation expected to hit 1.5% this year, the 1% proposed pay increase represents a real-terms pay cut. Experienced nurses will only take home an extra £3.50 per week, barely the price of a coffee.
The Government’s inadequate NHS pay offer comes after a decade of pay restraints. As we know, in 2010-11, the Tory coalition Government froze pay for all public-sector workers as part of their austerity measures, and strict pay freezes or pay caps were implemented until 2018-19. The Government then entered into a three-year pay agreement for NHS staff in England.
The British Medical Association, Royal College of Nursing, Royal College of Midwives and UNISON have all told the Government to reconsider the pay offer, and a recent poll from Opinium found that 72% of UK adults believe the Government’s 1% pay proposal is too low. If the Government pushes on with their proposed 1% pay increase, TUC research has found that nurses’ pay will be £2,500 less than in 2010 when adjusted for inflation, with equivalent falls of £3,330 for paramedics, £2,100 for maternity care assistants, and £850 for porters.
Last Wednesday (24/03/2021), I was pleased to co-sponsor a Westminster Hall debate with Paula Barker MP (Wavertree) and Mick Whitley MP (Birkenhead) on NHS pay. In my speech, I made it clear that the Government’s NHS pay offer is disgraceful and that they needed to stop taking NHS workers for granted and provide them a pay rise that recognises their value and importance. The NHS is the biggest employer in the UK and a decent pay rise would contribute to our economic recovery.
If NHS staff are forced to take future strike action on this matter, they will have my full support. I have signed this statement alongside other Socialist Campaign Group MPs and Lords in support of NHS staff.
Thank you once again for contacting me about this very important issue. I can assure you that I will continue pressing the Government to provide NHS workers a pay rise that recognises their critical importance to our country and community.