politics

NHS pay rise 'insult' as Tories say there's no decision until May – and no new money


Health Secretary Sajid Javid has kicked off the process for NHS workers to get a pay rise next year – but he’s made clear it needs to be funded from existing budgets

Health Secretary Sajid Javid alongside Amanda Pritchard, chief executive of NHS England, during a visit to Milton Keynes University hospital
Health Secretary Sajid Javid alongside Amanda Pritchard, chief executive of NHS England, during a visit to Milton Keynes University hospital

No new NHS money will be provided by the Government for higher wages and more staff.

The Government sneaked out the update in a letter to the NHS Pay Review Body as the nation is gripped by concern about the new Omicron Covid-19 variant.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid said the NHS budget has been set until 2024/25 so any future pay increase above inflation would mean less money for new staff.

It comes as the Government is giving NHS staff a below inflation 3% pay rise this year, leaving them worse off in real terms.

Rachel Harrison, GMB National Officer, said: “ Rishi Sunak courted the headlines when he said public sector workers would get a fair pay rise, but the sting of no new money leaves a bitter taste.

“The punishing cost of living and workplace pressures are pushing NHS workers to breaking point. Ministers can find billions for crony contracts, but there is no new money for NHS workers.







Health Secretary Sajid Javid said the NHS budget has been set until 2024/25
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Image:

PA)

“The cost-of-living is at a ten year high while public services are critically understaffed. Neither of these can be addressed without inflation busting pay rises.

“It looks like Sajid Javid is hobbling the Pay Review Body before its work has even begun.

“Worse still, this insulting letter comes on top of the Government’s plan to force through a real cut in NHS pay this year.

“Enough is enough – it’s time that NHS workers got the real pay rise that they need and deserve.”

Questions had been asked whether pay rises for NHS heroes in the coming years would be “fully funded” with new money, rather than diverting cash from existing budgets.

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Mr Javid’s remit letter to the NHS Pay Review Body states: “As the NHS budget has already been set until 2024 to 2025, it is vital that planned workforce growth is affordable and within the budgets set, particularly as there is a direct relationship between pay and staff numbers.”

Pat Cullen, General Secretary of the Royal College of Nursing, said: “The Health Secretary is again trying to present a choice over keeping staff or delivering care.

“Safe care requires a fully staffed workforce but only days ago we learnt of a sharp increase in vacancies.

“Fair pay must be part of turning the tide. He must understand how staffing shortages are the very thing he cannot afford.”

The Government had delayed issuing the letter, meaning the Pay Review Body isn’t expected to report back until May 2022.

Pat Cullen added: “This letter shows ministers have learnt nothing.

“By delaying to May 2022, the deal will not be ready for the new financial year. It is unacceptable to keep our members waiting yet again.

“Mr Javid’s mention of ‘patience’ overlooks the fact that these are real people who need a fair salary.”

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