POLITICS
21/07/2021 15:06 BST | Updated 21/07/2021 18:35 BST

NHS Pay Rise 'Shambles' As Government Flip Flops On Announcement

NHS staff in England will get 3% pay rise after day of confusion.

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Nurses hold placards demanding for fair pay during the demonstration on the weekend of the 73rd anniversary of the NHS in the UK.

NHS staff in England are to receive a 3% pay increase after a day of confusion ended with an announcement that the Government had accepted recommendations from the pay review body.

The government had earlier been branded an “utter shambles” after it failed to announce the pay rise as expected. 

It was understood that Helen Whately, the care minister, had been due to make the announcement in the Commons on Wednesday afternoon.

But despite delivering a statement to MPs, it did not include details of any pay rise.

However, a few hours later the Department for Health and Social Care issued a press release saying a 3% rise will be paid, backdated to April when the increase was due.

The government had triggered a backlash after suggesting NHS staff would only be given a 1% increase.

Rosena Allin-Khan, Labour’s shadow health minister, said earlier that given the expectation the “contempt the government holds for this House is unacceptable”.

“Less than an hour ago there were competing briefings on what the deal was going to be, but it’s turned out to be nothing,” she told MPs.

“Our NHS staff deserve better than this. They have worked incredibly hard throughout this pandemic.

“The personal sacrifice is astounding. Their hard work never stops. Our NHS staff deserve better than this.”

Justin Madders, also a shadow health minister, tweeted: “Government say they cant afford to offer NHS staff more than 1%, see the backlash so brief they are going to give 3% but then come to parliament to make a statement on it .... and say nothing at all.

“What an utter shambles.”

Unison said it was pleased the Government had moved from its initial recommendation of a 1% pay rise, but added that staff deserved more.

The government sparked anger in March by saying it could only afford a 1% increase despite the extraordinary efforts of NHS staff to deal with the pandemic.

Boris Johnson defended the plan and former health secretary, Matt Hancock said the decision to recommend such a small increase was due to an assessment of “what’s affordable as a nation” following the Covid crisis.

The NHS Pay Review Body made its recommendation weeks ago, leaving unions to question why a pay rise is still being delayed.

Pat Cullen, the interim general secretary of the Royal College of Nursing, said the treatment of NHS workers was “shameful”.

“Ministers are holding them in contempt and we have no choice but to condemn this behaviour,” she said.

“With tens of thousands of nursing vacancies and thousands more considering their future in the profession, the government is sending the worst possible signal with this political gameplaying.

“Ministers need to stop the wrangling and come clean about the pay rise they believe NHS staff deserve. Nursing staff will only accept this pay award if it’s significant, consolidated and fully funded with additional monies.”

With files from PA Media