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Owen Smith pledges to keep nursing student bursary

Labour leadership candidate Owen Smith has pledged to reverse the government’s decision to scrap student nursing bursaries.
Owen Smith

Labour leadership candidate Owen Smith has pledged to reverse the governments decision to scrap student nursing bursaries.

He promised to do this as part of a 60 billion investment plan for the NHS announced in a speech in Salford yesterday.

Mr Smith said he would also provide 10,000 more student nursing places and ensure wards were safely staffed over a 5-year parliamentary term.

In July, the government announced it was abolishing nursing and midwifery bursaries in England by August next year, leaving nurses with 9,000-a-year tuition fees and loans.

Graduate debt

The move was condemned by the RCN, which warned it would leave graduates with debts of up to 50,000.

During his speech, Mr Smith said: 'The Labour Party led by me will commit to increase NHS spending by 4% in real-terms every year for

Labour leadership candidate Owen Smith has pledged to reverse the government’s decision to scrap student nursing bursaries.


Labour leadership candidate Owen Smith Photo: Rex

He promised to do this as part of a £60 billion investment plan for the NHS announced in a speech in Salford yesterday.

Mr Smith said he would also provide 10,000 more student nursing places and ensure wards were safely staffed over a 5-year parliamentary term.

In July, the government announced it was abolishing nursing and midwifery bursaries in England by August next year, leaving nurses with £9,000-a-year tuition fees and loans.

Graduate debt

The move was condemned by the RCN, which warned it would leave graduates with debts of up to £50,000.

During his speech, Mr Smith said: 'The Labour Party led by me will commit to increase NHS spending by 4% in real-terms every year for 5 years – funded by new taxes on the wealthiest.

'What would that mean? It would mean an extra £60 billion being spent on our NHS over 5 years. A massive boost for our NHS, a real capital injection.'

Retain bursaries

Former health secretary Andy Burnham has already said he would retain bursaries for nurses if he was elected as mayor of Greater Manchester next year.

The Labour mayoral candidate said he would do this by reducing spending on agency nurses to fund the Greater Manchester Nursing Bursary. In return, nurses would have to agree to work for the local NHS for 5 years.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has also written to the Department of Health urging the government to halt its plan on bursaries, warning it will affect the supply of nurses in the capital.

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