Thursday, 14 December 2017

Nurses Pay - December 2017

I recognise the huge contribution made by the millions of people who work in our NHS and social services. Inflation is above the rate of annual pay increases, so I appreciate that this creates a gap between earnings and outgoings, and that's why the Government continues to cut taxes for working people and introduce other measures like doubling the amount of free childcare which saves families considerable amounts of money.

Each area of the public sector has a pay review board which makes recommendations to the Government about pay increases. Just recently the police pay review board recommended a rise of 1 per cent on top of the capped 1 per cent. This alone will cost an extra £50 million over 12 months, which illustrates how much it costs to award pay rises in parts of the public sector which employ a lot of people. The Treasury has a very challenging job of making sure the books are balanced, and even now we are still borrowing £50 billion per year to bridge the gap.

In the recent Autumn Budget, the Chancellor said that the Government will look at pay awards for NHS staff on the Agenda for Change contract, including nurses, midwives and paramedics. This does not prejudge the role of the independent NHS Pay Review Body in recommending the level of pay award that staff should receive, and given the recent decision by the Government to accept the extra pay increase for the police, this shows that it is listening to concerns about public sector pay.

Further to this, the Chancellor announced £6.3 billion of extra funding for the NHS on top of already planned increases. This includes £2.8 billion of additional resource funding to help the NHS meet A&E waiting time targets as well as for those who are referred for treatment. £335 million of this will be provided before the end of the year to help the NHS meet increased winter demand.

The NHS in England will also get another £3.5 billion of capital funding on top of the £425 million announced in the Spring Budget. This includes £2.6 billion for Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships (STPs) who are currently working on plans to improve local health services and £700 million will be provided for NHS trusts which require extra help in meeting targets.

I absolutely want to see nurses getting an annual pay rise of more than 1 per cent, provided it is properly funded, I recognise the extra demand on the NHS due to an increasing and ageing population, and that it is working hard to ensure that patients get faster and more effective treatment.