Health Secretary defends 1 per cent pay rise for NHS staff

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has defended the proposed 1 percent pay increase for NHS workers.

He said: “Elsewhere in the public sector there is a wage freeze and we have suggested what we think is affordable.”

Speaking to a press conference on Downing Street, Mr Hancock said, “I am delighted that the NHS staff have been lifted out of the wage freeze.

“We have affordability issues due to the public finances impact of the pandemic, which was set in the budget this week.

“We have to take these into account, but we have been able to work the NHS out of the wage freeze that applies to everyone else in the public sector.”

Mr Hancock added that the government wants to hire more nurses for the NHS.

He said nurses’ wages had increased 12 percent in the past three years.

“I do not bow to anyone in my admiration for nurses. I learned that on the knee of my grandmother, who was a nurse and worked nights at the Pilgrim Hospital in Boston,” he said.

“The challenge is that the country’s finances are tight and while everyone else in the public sector is about to see a wage freeze, we can propose a 1 percent increase in nurses.

“I fully appreciate that this reflects the difficult financial circumstances of the country.”

The Minister of Health said the UK government is taking a different approach to care compensation than the decentralized administration in Scotland, where carers are supposed to receive a Covid-19 bonus.

Commenting on the briefing, Matt Hancock said: “The Edinburgh administration makes its decisions about how to run the NHS.

“That is not the approach we have taken here and obviously wage issues will go to the wage review agency.

“But we have set out what is affordable in the face of the major public finance challenges.”

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