I have campaigned for years for more funding for the NHS to ensure we have a service that works and that frontline workers like nurses get decent pay. And I have continuously opposed the creeping privatisation we have seen over recent years.
I have repeatedly called for a long-term investment plan for the NHS and social care sector, funded by increasing taxation on the very wealthiest in society.
Rishi Sunak gave pay rises to doctors and dentists earlier in the year, but not to nurses, and this is obviously unfair. In fact, he used the excuse that nurses agreed a three-year deal in 2018, which means the average nurse receiving a 4.4% rise this year. But the vast majority of frontline nurses are said to be in Band 5, so on average this meant that nurses got just a 1.65% rise in April, and this is totally unacceptable in my view.
He did this, despite the fact that he and Boris Johnson recognised the selfless and dedicated service that they have provided throughout the Coronavirus crisis. I consider this to be exploitation, but it doesn’t come as a surprise.
In Rishi Sunak’s Autumn 2020 Spending Review, he promised a pay rise for doctors and nurses in the NHS, but we don’t know what this will be, and we’ll probably have to wait until the 2021 budget to find out.
He also said that all public sector workers earning less than the median wage (£24,000) will get a pay rise in next year’s Budget; I suspect this will be followed quickly by the announced public sector pay freeze which is being justified as paying for the cost of the Pandemic. This is unacceptable as the wealthy should make the biggest contribution rather than making front line workers shoulder the bill.
I fully support the long overdue, proper pay rise for nurses who continue to give such selfless dedicated service even though their real income has gone down. A 12.5% pay increase does not even take you to parity with the real value of nurses pay 10 years ago.
I will continue to push for what I would have done, which is a proper long-term investment plan for the NHS and social care sector, and I will do this inside and outside of Parliament.