Monday 8 March 2021 / 3:46 PM Health / Jonathan Ashworth

Jonathan Ashworth asks Urgent Question on NHS staff pay

Jonathan Ashworth MP, Labour’s Shadow Health Secretary, asking an Urgent Question on NHS staff pay, said:

Where is the Secretary of State? Why isn’t he here to defend a budget that puts up tax up for hard working families and cuts pay for hard working nurses.
The Secretary of State who has stood at that despatch box week after praising nurses. Waxing lyrical. Describing them as ‘heroes” saying ‘they are the very best of us.’

And now he is cutting nurses pay. Last summer when asked by Andrew Marr if the deserved a real terms pay rise he replied: ‘Well, of course I want to see people properly rewarded, absolutely.’

And yet now he is cutting nurses pay. Last year he brought to this house legislation to put in law the NHS long term plan spending,
He said from that despatch box that the legislation represented ‘certainty for the NHS about a minimum funding level over the next four years and certainty for the 1.4 million colleagues who work in our health service.’

That long-term plan was based on a 2.1 per cent pay increase for all NHS staff. Every Tory MP voted for it. And now these minsters and every Tory MP is cutting nurses pay.
She says Covid has changed everything, well the Chancellor promised to fund the Covid costs of the NHS. And where is the Chancellor? Where is his video?

Where is the glossy production of him levelling with nurses and telling he cutting their pay? Did I miss that tweet from his account? This is a pay cut he couldn’t even mention in the budget speech and he tried to sneak out in the small print.

And at a time when NHS staff are more pressured than in midst the biggest health crisis for a century. When there are 100,000 shortages across the NHS, does she not accept a pay cut will make those gaps worse and drive up the bills for agency work?

She says wait for the Pay Review body, but won’t guarantee they will implement any real terms pay rise should the Pay Review body recommend it because minister have already made up their minds: and that’s to cut NHS pay in a pandemic. Our NHS staff deserve so much better.
If this government doesn’t deliver one, it shows once again you simply can’t trust the Tories with the NHS.