British tennis star Andy Murray has joined condemnation of the government for the “pathetic” 1% pay rise given to NHS workers.
“They deserve more”
Murray was asked for his thoughts after his second round win at Wimbledon on 30 June, saying it was “fantastic” many frontline health workers and other key figures of the pandemic had been recognised by being invited to the championships. Murray said:
I think the whole country kind of realised how important they all are, and maybe hadn’t got the recognition that they probably deserve up until now So, yeah, it’s fantastic that they have been able to come along and watch some of the tennis. Hopefully they can enjoy it and, yeah, hopefully the politicians can realise that they deserve more than what they are getting paid just now.
I think, what is it, they got something like a 1% pay rise? It was pathetic. So, yeah, they obviously deserve a lot more than that. They have done an amazing job getting us through the pandemic.
Prime minister Boris Johnson in March insisted the 1% payrise allocated to NHS staff was as much as the government could afford amid the financially tight times of the pandemic. Others have previously criticised the idea that Britain is in debt because of the coronavirus (Covid-19):
How many times this week will we hear the lie that the government has borrowed £300bn to pay for Covid? It hasn’t. It has issued debt, but then immediately repurchased it using new money created by the Bank of England. This debt has already been repaid in that case, for good.
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— Richard Murphy (@RichardJMurphy) February 28, 2021
Labour said the 1% payrise went against a government promise made last year for a 2.1% pay rise, although Labour also refused to back the 12% payrise that NHS staff are fighting for.
With Wimbledon resuming this summer after being cancelled last year, tournament officials have been applauded for inviting various people who have been at the forefront of the fight against the pandemic.
Inside centre court on 28 June, Oxford University’s Sarah Gilbert – co-creator of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine – was given a standing ovation by the crowd when her attendance was announced. Oxford colleague Andrew Pollard, another co-creator of the vaccine, was also present on 28 June.
An ovation was additionally given for Hannah Ingram, daughter of Captain Tom Moore, who last year raised £33m of pounds for the NHS.
The centre court announcer said NHS critical care staff were also in attendance, along with key workers at Transport for London and other “inspirational workers” who have contributed to Britain’s pandemic battle, while more figures would be recognised through the Wimbledon fortnight.
Murray, the injury-plagued dual champion of the tournament, reached the third round of a Grand Slam for the first time in four years through his five-set win over Germany’s Oscar Otte.
Asked about the nation’s other current obsession – Euro 2020 – the 34-year-old Murray wished England well.
“It’s a great opportunity for England to win a major competition for the first time in a while,” he said. “Hopefully they can do it”.
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