Health Secretary refuses to commit to pay rise for nurses
Health Secretary Matt Hancock has refused to commit to a pay rise for nurses after the coronavirus crisis, saying only he would fight for them to have ‘fair reward’.
Speaking at the Downing Street press conference today Mr Hancock said he agreed ‘very strongly’ with the statement that nursing is a ‘highly skilled profession and it deserves decent pay’.
But he stopped short of making any promises, saying only: “We put up nurses' pay last month and in fact last year we had the biggest rise in pay, especially for nurses when they were starting their career, the lowest paid nurses got a pay rise, very significant, of over 15 per cent.”
He added: “There has been a significant pay rise for nurses and I think one of the things that the crisis has shown is just how much the nation values our staff across the health and care system, including nurses.
“And when it comes to how we reward people for their efforts in this crisis what I can tell you is that as the Health Secretary I will be making sure that we fight to have that fair reward.
“It is worth noting the increases that have been put through in the last couple of years and it is worth all of us coming together to show the value with which we hold nurses and everybody who works across health and social care.”
Mr Hancock's remarks come on the day 16 healthcare unions, including Unison, the Royal College of Nursing, the Royal College of Midwives and Unite published a nine-point ‘blueprint’ for the NHS to return to normal service.
One of the key areas they are fighting for is for staff to be paid for every hour they have worked over the course of the pandemic.
On Wednesday the Government was forced to deny reports that a Treasury document had been drawn up proposing measures such as income tax hikes and a two-year public sector pay freeze.
The Daily Telegraph reported the document estimated the UK's deficit could reach £337 billion this year because of the pandemic, compared to the forecast £55 billion in March's Budget.