Editorial

Pay cap is nothing short of a national scandal

Nurses have suffered too much for too long and the protests and lobbying must continue, says editor Graham Scott
Graham Scott

The cost of living rose by 2.5% during 2016, as inflation climbed to its highest level since June 2014.

Yet the vast majority of nurses received pay rises of only 1% and as we all know 1% of not much is very little indeed.

This is one of the many points that will have been made by scores of nurses who descended on parliament this week to lobby their MPs, members of the House of Lords and anyone else who was prepared to listen to their case.

The fall in the real-terms value of nurses pay is nothing short of a national scandal. Along with thousands of other public sector workers, they have suffered too much for too long.

Better deal

Other groups are now starting to receive higher pay awards, and NHS staff are due rises to help them catch up.

The cost of living rose by 2.5% during 2016, as inflation climbed to its highest level since June 2014.

Yet the vast majority of nurses received pay rises of only 1% and – as we all know – 1% of not much is very little indeed.

This is one of the many points that will have been made by scores of nurses who descended on parliament this week to lobby their MPs, members of the House of Lords and anyone else who was prepared to listen to their case.

The fall in the real-terms value of nurses’ pay is nothing short of a national scandal. Along with thousands of other public sector workers, they have suffered too much for too long.

Better deal

Other groups are now starting to receive higher pay awards, and NHS staff are due rises to help them catch up.

Yet ministers in London seem determined to stick to their policy of restricting future NHS pay awards to 1% until 2020, and their counterparts in Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast lack the money and political will to do much about it.

This year’s award has not been confirmed, but it is highly unlikely that the NHS Pay Review Body will spring a surprise by recommending a more generous settlement. Nonetheless, the lobbying, persuasion and protests must continue, with a view to winning a better deal in 2018 and beyond.

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