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Nurse poverty: study points to plight of one million children

As NHS pay fails to keep pace with housing costs, RCN repeats call for double-digit pay deal
woman looks despondent, with child in high chair by her side – study suggests many children of nurses and other key workers live in poverty

Research for TUC highlights economic deprivation among many nursing staff and other key workers, and how this is affecting their family circumstances

Nurses need what the RCN calls a fair pay rise, in light of research that estimates more than one million children in key worker households live in poverty.

Research published by the Trades Union Congress (TUC) drew on the Labour Force Survey and the Family Resource Survey 2019-20 to calculate that in England, Wales and Scotland a total of 1,062,586 children from key worker families, including those of nursing staff, live in poverty.

‘Nurses’ families are not getting the lives they deserve’

RCN national officer Nicola Lee said the findings shame

Research for TUC highlights economic deprivation among many nursing staff and other key workers, and how this is affecting their family circumstances

woman looks despondent, with child in high chair by her side – study suggests many children of nurses and other key workers live in poverty
Picture: iStock

Nurses need what the RCN calls a fair pay rise, in light of research that estimates more than one million children in key worker households live in poverty.

Research published by the Trades Union Congress (TUC) drew on the Labour Force Survey and the Family Resource Survey 2019-20 to calculate that in England, Wales and Scotland a total of 1,062,586 children from key worker families, including those of nursing staff, live in poverty.

‘Nurses’ families are not getting the lives they deserve’

RCN national officer Nicola Lee said the findings shame government.

‘Sadly, we know many nursing staff cannot give their children the life they deserve. Staff in all settings need a fair pay rise to make up for the fact their pay has not kept up with living costs,’ she said.

The RCN is campaigning for a 12.5% pay rise for all nursing staff in the NHS.

The college claims the pay of an experienced nurse has fallen by 15.3% in real terms over the past decade and that the government’s suggested 1% pay rise for NHS staff on Agenda for Change contracts in the 2021-22 pay round would mean an experienced nurse would only take home an extra £3.50 a week.

Impact of soaring housing costs on nurses’ household budgets

Recently, Nursing Standard reported that house prices have increased six times faster than an average nurse’s salary over the past decade, in some cases forcing nurses to move outside the area where they work or consider leaving the profession.

A spokesperson for the government in England said: ‘Children in households where every adult is working are around five times less likely to be in poverty than households where nobody works.’


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