The news this week that NHS staff are to be offered a 1% pay rise has been met with anger and disbelief.
“We’ve given as much as we possibly can” says Boris Johnson.
A 1% pay rise for nurses costs £174 million. The cost of the stamp-duty holiday includes over £500 million going in subsidies to second home owners and buy-to-let landlords. We know the Government can’t fund everything but this says a lot about their priorities.
The staff in the NHS have borne the brunt of the Covid pandemic. They are exhausted both physically and mentally. Over 850 healthcare workers have lost their lives.
“We’ve increased nurses pay by 12%” say Government Ministers.
The past decade has seen nurse wages fall by 9% in real terms – the result of a pay freeze followed by a series of below inflation pay increases resulting in an overall fall in the value of their salaries. There were problems with morale before Covid which have only worsened with this derisory pay proposal.
Cambridgeshire has been acutely affected by this. As the relative wages of staff have fallen the costs of accommodation has continued to soar, creating a recruitment crisis. Addenbrookes, our largest hospital, used to pay a local weighting to staff to reflect the high cost of living in the area but this was scrapped by the Tory/LibDem government in 2010.
This Government, who have put £billions into the hands of their contacts and cronies, were very keen to show their support in photos as they clapped for key workers. Once the doors closed they reverted to type, taking back from those who need and deserve it most.
The last year has been an experience of fear, frustration and fatigue for many in the NHS. Let’s not add forgotten to this list.
Weekend polling by Opinium and published in today’s Observer shows that over 70% of people believe our NHS staff deserve more.
If you agree, then sign our petition https://action.labour.org.uk/page/s/give-nhs-heroes-a-pay-rise