Matt Hancock says 1pc pay rise for NHS due to 'issues of affordability'

Health Secretary Matt Hancock during a media briefing in Downing Street, London, on coronavirus (Cov

Health secretary Matt Hancock during Friday's media briefing in Downing Street, London, on coronavirus (Covid-19). - Credit: PA Video/PA Wire

The proposed 1pc pay rise for NHS staff has been limited because of "issues of affordability", the health secretary has said.

It emerged this week that the NHS budget going forward is based on a 1pc pay rise for workers – dubbed a "kick in the teeth" by leading health service unions and widely criticised by the public.

NHS staff in Norfolk said they feel "used" after all their work on the frontline of the battle against coronavirus, while the Royal College of Nursing has announced it is setting up £35m in industrial action in response to the recommendations.

But Matt Hancock defended the decision in a Downing Street press conference on Friday, citing economic pressure as a constraint and adding that most other public sector workers currently have their pay frozen.

He said: "I am a huge admirer of all those who have worked in the NHS during this pandemic and done so much, and I am very pleased NHS staff have been carved out of the pay freeze.

"We do have issues of affordability because of the consequences of the pandemic on public finances, which were set out in the Budget this week. We have to take those into account.

"We have proposed what we think is affordable to make sure that, in the NHS, people do get a pay rise. I think it's fair to take into account all of the considerations – the incredible hard work of those in the NHS – to make sure they are not part of the overall public sector pay freeze."


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Mr Hancock added the UK Government was taking a different approach to nursing remuneration compared with the devolved administration in Scotland, where carers are due to receive a Covid-19 bonus.

The health secretary told the press briefing: "The administration in Edinburgh take their decisions in terms of how they run the NHS. That isn't the approach we have chosen to take here and obviously matters of pay will go to the pay review body.

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"But we have set out what is affordable given the very significant challenges to the public finances."

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