Matt Hancock refuses to commit to a pay rise for nurses

Support us and go ad-free

Matt Hancock has refused to promise a pay rise for nurses after the coronavirus crisis. He’s said that he would fight for them to have “fair reward” but without making specific commitments.

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%.

He added:

…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.

Read on...

Support us and go ad-free

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.

Response from unions

Hancock’s remarks come on the day that 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.

One of the key areas they’re fighting for is for staff to be paid for every hour they’ve 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.

Reported Treasury document

On 13 May, 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 that the document estimated the UK’s budget deficit could reach £337 billion this year because of the pandemic.

In response to the report, 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.

On 1 April, all NHS staff received a pay rise. The date marked the final year in a three-year deal negotiated by unions to increase the starting pay at every level – or ‘band’ – of the health service.

It was also intended to simplify the pay structure and aid recruitment and retention of staff. Fresh rounds of pay talks are due to open later this year.

Support us and go ad-free

We need your help to keep speaking the truth

Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.

Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.

We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.

In return, you get:

* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop

Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.

With your help we can continue:

* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do

We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?

The Canary Support us