Labour pledges to end 1% pay cap for NHS staff

Announcement comes as Labour announces Jeremy Corbyn has held talks with Sir Jeremy Heywood

By Emilio Casalicchio

26 Apr 2017

A Labour government would end the 1% cap on NHS staff’s pay rises, the shadow health secretary will announce today.

Jon Ashworth will say medics are “ignored, insulted, undervalued, overworked and underpaid” by the Conservatives and under Labour will get “the pay they deserve”.

The Labour manifesto will also promise to outlaw unsafe NHS staffing levels and reinstate funding for health-related education such as nursing bursaries, he will confirm.

All public sector staff had their pay frozen for two years from 2010 then had rises capped at 1% in every year since 2012.

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Addressing the Unison health conference in Liverpool today, Mr Ashworth will pledge a return to collective bargaining for NHS pay based on the advice of independent pay review bodies.

“Our NHS staff are the very pride of Britain. Yet they are ignored, insulted, undervalued, overworked and underpaid by this Tory government. Not anymore. Enough is enough,” he will declare.

“I can pledge today that a Labour government will scrap the pay cap and give our NHS workers the pay they deserve.”

Previous reports have said a Labour pay rise for public sector staff could be financed by an increase in corporation tax and restoring the 50p top rate of income tax.

Responding to the reports, Conservative health minister Philip Dunne said Labour’s economic policies would leave the health service worse off.

He said: “A strong NHS needs a strong economy. Only Theresa May and the Conservatives offer the strong and stable leadership we need to secure our growing economy and with it funding for the NHS and its dedicated staff.

“We’ve protected and increased the NHS budget and got thousands more staff in hospitals. But all that’s at risk with Jeremy Corbyn’s nonsensical economic policies that would mean less money for the NHS. Just look at Wales where Labour’s economic mismanagement mean they had to cut funding.”

The announcement comes as Labour announced that party leader Jeremy Corbyn had met with cabinet secretary Sir Jeremy Heywood as part of pre-election contact.

A statement from the party said the meeting was “detailed and productive, and will now be followed by departmental discussions”.

It added: “Jeremy would like to put on record his appreciation of the professionalism and commitment of the cabinet secretary and his civil service colleagues.’

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