‘Now is not the time to discuss pay rise for nurses’, says Matt Hancock
The Health Secretary said he was “sympathetic to the argument” as nurses battle to keep patients safe from coronavirus
Without hesitation MPs accepted the offer of £10,000 in expenses to help cover their working from home costs during the coronavirus pandemic.
The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority issued updated guidance which states every MP can access an extra £10,000 to boost their office costs budget to pay for things like laptops, for staff and electricity.
The additional cash will be available until March next year and in addition to their salary, with the average being £79,468 a year plus expenses.
MP’s have taken up this offer with gusto, yet, it seems they are very shy to stand up and fight for decent pay for the real workers of this Coronavirus crisis, frontline hero’s like Nurses and care workers.
A public sector pay freeze after Covid-19 would be an ‘outrage’ to nurses, patients and the public, so where is the condemnation from MPs from both side of the house?
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, the Health Secretary 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%.”
Matt Hancock 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.”
The Health Secretary paid tribute to the work being done by those in the health service but would not be drawn on whether they deserved more money.
Mr Hancock’s remarks come on the day 16 healthcare unions, including Unison, the Royal College of Nursing (RCN), the Royal College of Midwives, and Unite published a nine-point “blueprint” for the NHS to return to normal service.
The starting salary for a nurse will be £24,900 in 2020/21.
Nurses suffered like the rest of the public sector from the coalition then Tory government’s pay freeze with lasted from 2011-12 and then 1% pay cap for the next five years.
They finally secured a pay rise in 2018 with a rise of 6.5% agreed.
It is a paltry amount compared to the work they do.
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.
Unison head of health Sara Gorton, who also chairs the NHS group of unions, said: “The Government can show its appreciation for all NHS employees now by approving moves that guarantee staff are paid properly for every hour they’re at work.
“Every Thursday we applaud NHS staff from our doorsteps and show how much we value them. The public will expect the Government to reflect this when pay talks open later in the year.”
According to a leaked Treasury plan, the nurses, doctors and care workers who have worked so hard in the fight against COVID-19 could be among those clobbered as the Government tries to repair the economy.
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.
In response to the report, Ms Gorton said: “People will understandably be horrified at talk of pay freezes for those at the forefront of the fight against the virus.”
RCN national officer and team leader Hannah Reed said: “Staff must be paid in full for the extra hours worked during the crisis.
“Any talk of future pay freezes to pay the bill for the pandemic will outrage nursing, health care staff and the public alike.”
The document – obtained by the Telegraph – listed a string of options ministers could take to tackle a budget deficit as high as £337bn this year.
While none of them are government policy, the document suggested the “tax lock” promised in December’s election – freezing Income Tax, VAT and National Insurance – could have to be scrapped.
It also suggested a two-year public sector pay freeze could save £6.5billion by 2023-24 – while “stopping the rising cost” of the pension triple lock would cut £8billion a year.
Maybe scrapping HS2 and investing in faster broadband would be more advisable in the 21st century.
It has been apparent how Business, people and the economy the internet has been. Unfortunately the U.K. is still lagging behind on providing high-speed broadband
Britain lags behind the rest of the world for broadband connectivity. Despite being the world’s fifth-largest economy, it ranks 35th out of 37 countries assessed by the OECD for the proportion of fibre in its total fixed broadband infrastructure. In 2017, the EU ranked Britain eighth for connectivity out of 28 member states. Despite progress, the country has slipped to 10th.
Investments in broadband have a vital role to play, both in moving the global economy back onto a higher growth trajectory, and in generating sustainable social and economic growth. Like water, roads, rail and electricity before it, broadband is of fundamental importance to the social and economic development of all nations. However, Investments must not be focused only on infrastructure development – they must also provide for advanced online services, locally relevant content and services, and support for media and information literacy development to address inequity and deliver broadband inclusion for all.
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