Nurses do a fantastic job in extremely difficult circumstances and are well overdue a pay rise. The determination, professionalism and compassion of nurses comes against the backdrop of years of pay restraint. Indeed, the Royal College of Nursing estimates that since 2010 there has been a real-terms drop in earnings of 14 per cent for its members and has said that some nursing staff are now relying on foodbanks and second jobs to make ends meet.
In 2015 the government announced a maximum pay increase of 1 per cent in public sector pay until 2019-20. This is not sustainable and it is why when on Wednesday June 27 the House of Commons debated health and social care as part of the debate on the Queen’s Speech, I vociferously supported a Labour amendment to lift the cap. Unfortunately, the government and its DUP allies defeated the amendment.
I believe a pay rise for nurses, paramedics, police officers, firefighters – for all public sector workers in our constituency and across the country – is fair, affordable and the right thing to do.
I will continue to press the government to lift the pay cap so that nurses and other public sector workers are paid at a level which recognises the skill and dedication which they bring to their jobs and ensures they do not face hardship.