Wednesday 10 March 2021 / 12:15 PM Keir Starmer / NHS

Starmer demands MPs’ vote on NHS pay as new figures show NHS staff saw pay slashed by the Conservatives since 2010

At Prime Ministers Questions today, Keir Starmer called on the Prime Minister to give MPs a vote on NHS pay amid mounting anger at the Government’s proposed NHS pay cut.

After it emerged that the Government’s current pay offer would leave NHS staff hundreds of pounds worse off, new figures from Labour today reveal that going into the pandemic, NHS staff had seen their real terms pay slashed under the Conservatives.

Accounting for inflation, Labour’s research shows that since the Conservatives took power in 2010, some NHS workers have seen their pay slashed by thousands of pounds per year:

• Since 2010, the starting salary for nurses, physiotherapists, radiographers and numerous other NHS roles has seen a real terms cut of £841 per year.
• Since 2010, the average salary of nurse and health visitor has seen a real terms cut of £2,379 per year.

The intervention comes after the head of NHS England confirmed on Tuesday that the NHS had budgeted for a 2.1 per cent pay increase this year. Unions and NHS bodies are urging the Government to reconsider its one per cent proposal to the NHS Pay Review body.

The public is overwhelmingly opposed to the Government’s position, with a poll showing 83 per cent of the public, and 78 per cent of Conservative voters, think the Government should increase its pay offer.

There have been warnings this week of an “exodus” of staff if the Government fails to change course, worsening the existing staffing challenges in the NHS. The NHS entered the Covid crisis with a record 100,000 vacancies and with a health workforce smaller compared to other advanced economies.

Speaking at Prime Ministers Questions, Keir Starmer, Leader of the Labour Party, said:

“They can afford to give Dominic Cummings a 40 percent pay rise, but they can’t afford to reward the NHS.

“The mask really is slipping, and we can see what the Conservative Party now stands for. Cutting pay for nurses. Putting taxes up for families.

“He’s had the opportunity to change course, but he’s refused. So if he’s so determined to cut NHS pay, will he at least show some courage and put it to a vote in Parliament?”