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Mini-budget: ‘Billions to bankers and nothing to nurses’

Nursing unions slam chancellor of the exchequer Kwasi Kwarteng’s priorities as mini-budget rewards high earners while nurses ‘live on a financial knife edge’

Nursing unions slam chancellor of the exchequer Kwasi Kwarteng’s priorities as mini-budget rewards high earners while nurses ‘live on a financial knife edge’

‘Billions to bankers and nothing to nurses’ – the new chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng’s first ‘mini-budget’ has come under fire over major tax cuts for top earners while leaving nurses to ‘live on a financial knife-edge’.

Bankers and high earners benefit from mini budget as nurses struggle with cost of living

Mr Kwarteng today announced details of

Nursing unions slam chancellor of the exchequer Kwasi Kwarteng’s priorities as mini-budget rewards high earners while nurses ‘live on a financial knife edge’

Photo of chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng holding The Growth Plan 2022
Kwasi Kwarteng holding The Growth Plan 2022 Picture: James Veysey/Shutterstock

‘Billions to bankers and nothing to nurses’ – the new chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng’s first ‘mini-budget’ has come under fire over major tax cuts for top earners while leaving nurses to ‘live on a financial knife-edge’.

Bankers and high earners benefit from mini budget as nurses struggle with cost of living

Mr Kwarteng today announced details of a ‘mini budget’ where he confirmed controversial plans to scrap an EU-wide cap on bankers’ bonuses, which limits bonuses to twice an employee’s annual salary. He also abolished the highest rate of income tax.

The move was slammed by the RCN and other unions as looking after the rich.

RCN chief executive Pat Cullen said it was a clear sign of a ‘government with the wrong priorities’.

‘This statement gave billions to bankers and nothing to nurses. Nursing staff will be dismayed by the decision to prioritise well-off bankers over NHS and social care staff, some of whom are using food banks and live on a financial knife-edge,’ she said.

‘Ministers have taken advantage of the goodwill of nursing staff for far too long.’

Ms Cullen added: ‘This sounds not only deeply undemocratic but also inaccurate when it comes to how NHS pay is decided – there are no negotiations, the government imposes a pay announcement without warning.’

What was in the mini-budget?

The new measures announced by chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng include:

  • Bankers’ bonus cap scrapped
  • Corporation tax rise cancelled

Income tax

  • Top rate cut from 45p to 40p as the highest rate of 45% is axed
  • Basic rate cut from 20p to 19p, which the treasury claims will give 31 million people an extra £170 per year
  • National insurance rise reversed
  • Health and social care levy reversed

Stamp duty

  • Abolished for homes under £250,000 for everyone
  • Abolished for homes under £435,000 for first-time buyers

It comes after Labour MP Barking Dame Margaret Hodge claimed that bankers’ record £2.6 billion bonuses in 2021 could have paid the salaries of 80,000 nurses.

Government targets workers’ right to strike as nursing unions prepare to ballot members

Among other measures announced by Mr Kwarteng were tighter rules for trade unions amid a wave of industrial action by hundreds of thousands of workers, with new legislation requiring unions to put pay offers from employers to a vote from members.

He told the Commons it was ‘unacceptable’ that strike action was causing so much disruption, and that strikes should only be called ‘once negotiations have genuinely broken down’.

Unison general secretary Christina McAnea said: ‘Threats to unions are attacks on employees simply trying to win better pay. Choosing to side with city bankers over struggling families queueing at food banks won’t go down well with all those feeling deep despair.’

Nurses and other healthcare workers are set to be balloted on potential strike action over the government’s pay increase offer of £1,400 – or 4% – in England and Wales and 5% in Scotland. Nurses in Northern Ireland are yet to be offered a pay increase but will still join the ballot.


Find out more

Gov.uk: Chancellor announces new Growth Plan with biggest package of tax cuts in generations


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