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  1. ITV Report

Jeremy Hunt accused of 'straight lie' on Welsh NHS pay

NHS pay has been falling in real terms, due to a series of below inflation pay increases Credit: NHS Wales

Health Secretary Vaughan Gething has told AMs that his UK counterpart told MPs a "straight lie" that the Welsh NHS was £1 billion worse off because it hadn't received the full benefit of increases to the English health budget. Mr Hunt was announcing that health workers in England would get a 6.5% pay rise over three years.

It is perfectly possible for the Labour government in Wales to replicate this deal in Wales, if they choose to. But of course we do know that had they replicated the increases in funding in the NHS in England, the NHS in Wales would have an additional billion pounds spent on it over the past five years.

– UK Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt MP

That is just straight lie. If we are going to have a properly informed debate about the future funding of the national health service, then there needs to be a more honest discourse between parliaments and governments and with the public and I will not hesitate from calling Jeremy Hunt for what he is when he makes untrue and knowingly untrue statements about NHS finance here in Wales.

– Health Secretary Vaughan Gething AM

Mr Gething also signalled that NHS staff in Wales can expect a pay offer following the UK Government's decision to end its 1% pay cap for health workers in England.

I am pleased the UK Government has listened to my repeated calls to lift the public sector pay cap and provide additional funding to reward NHS staff across the UK.

The NHS Wales Partnership Forum is meeting tomorrow to offer advice on how any consequential could be used in Wales ... I am happy to confirm that any consequential [of the pay increase in England] will go into NHS pay in Wales.

– Health Secretary Vaughan Gething AM

The UK government's offer of 6.5% over three years includes nurses and most other NHS staff but not doctors. It will trigger an extra payment of about £210 million to the Welsh Government to spend as it wishes. At Westminster, the UK Health Secretary had called on the Welsh Government to spend the money on NHS pay.

I very much hope the devolved governments will follow suit with this deal, although I have to say that for every pound per head we put into the NHS in England Labour in Wales has only been putting in 57 pence.

– UK Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt MP

Health spending per head is higher in Wales than in England but since 2010 Welsh spending has not increased as much as English spending.

Plaid Cymru has accused the Welsh Government of having a "gutless" policy of waiting to see what happened to NHS pay in England, although the Scottish Government had already acted unilaterally.

There are no more excuses for the Labour government not to lift this abhorrent pay cap. Plaid Cymru is urging the Welsh Government to act as soon as possible, so that nurses will get the pay rise they deserve. Without nurses, our NHS would grind to a halt, and decision-makers have squeezed their pay for years in an act of sheer unfairness.

Labour’s gutless policy of waiting for the Tories in England, shows their fundamental lack of ambition and desire to use devolution to take Wales down a better, fairer path.

– Plaid Cymru Health Spokesperson Rhun ap Iorwerth AM

One health union -the GMB- has already said that it will recommend that its members reject the pay offer in England, as it would mean further real terms pay cuts. Inflation is expected to rise by 9.6% over the next three years.