I am fully supportive of the proposal to increase NHS pay, and have been shocked at the Government’s refusal to support our front line workers. NHS staff have been at the heart of the fight against coronavirus, working day and night to protect our NHS and save lives. They do so much to make our health service one to be proud of and they deserve our respect, admiration, and full support.
The NHS and its staff have been systematically underfunded for years due to this Conservative Government. This has become strictly evident during the COVID-19 pandemic, which has highlighted the need for proper funding. It is only right that the frontline workers of the NHS, who have put their lives on the line should be paid a fair wage.
The Government has proposed a 1% increase, which represents a real-term pay cut for many NHS workers due to inflation set to rise this year. This is less than half of the 2.1% pay increase that was planned pre pandemic. Rather than being rewarded for saving lives, they are being punished with a pay cut. This is insulting, especially in light of the numerous allegations of corruption in this Conservative Government – the Prime Minister “fixing” tax breaks for his friends, the Chancellor “pushing” the Treasury to help Lex Greensill; and the Health Secretary owning shares in a company delivering NHS services. NHS nurses worked on our frontlines to protect us – but it’s a chum of the Prime Minister who has his phone number that gets offered a tax break, while they get a pay cut.
Ministers should agree a multi-year pay settlement with staff and, in starting talks, take their pay cut off the table and not set a ceiling. I am pleased that the Labour Party has introduced a Bill to Parliament which would give MPs the opportunity to properly scrutinise the proposals on NHS pay.
I will continue to make the case for a better deal and pressure the Government to do the right thing and support our NHS.