Calls for 'proper pay rise' for England's nurses as NHS Scotland staff get 4% pay rise

Credit: PA

There are renewed calls for the government to offer a "proper pay rise" to nurses in England, after NHS Scotland staff were offered a pay rise of at least 4%

Earlier this month, Boris Johnson's government proposed a 1% pay rise for NHS England staff - prompting widespread criticism and the threat of strike action.

The issue has now come back into the limelight, after the Scottish government offered four times more to the 154,000 NHS Scotland staff who worked through the pandemic.

Quizzed on the issue on Thursday, the Prime Minister said they were looking at "what more can be done for nurses" but claimed nurses "also want another pair of hands next to them to help" - referencing the government's recruitment drive.

"Of all the professions - because we're all facing a pay freeze at the moment - we've asked the public sector pay review body to look at what more can be done for nurses," the PM said.

"Of course I understand why nurses like so many others would want to see better pay and better terms right now, even though times are very tough.

"But what nurses also want, in my experience going around NHS wards and talking to them, is another pair of hands at a tough time next to them to help - and that is what we're recruiting."

Labour accused the government of having "reneged on its promise" of a real term pay rise for NHS workers.

Shadow Business Secretary Ed Miliband said: "We support a proper pay rise for NHS nurses and NHS staff."

"We'd like to see an NHS pay rise that is fair to our workers, that's what we want to see from government."

ITV News has reported on the financial struggles NHS England staff have faced over the past year.

Nurse Ameera Sheikh protests outside Downing Street, London, demanding a pay rise, real protection against COVID-19 and and the release of Public Health England's review into BAME NHS staff's deaths. Credit: PA

One nurse revealed she was left without hot water for four months, unable to afford the cost of repairs, while a mother-of-two had to claim universal credit amid fears she would default on her mortgage.

Nursing Notes & Nurses United found that 85% of nurses said they are running in a financial deficit - essentially spending more each month than they earn.

What have NHS Scotland staff been offered?

Nurses, paramedics and domestic staff will be among those who will receive the boost to their salaries in Scotland, doctors will not.

That's because the move will benefit employees with contracts under the Agenda for Change system, which would also give staff on the lowest pay point a 5.4% increase.

Among those included in Agenda for Change are nurses, paramedics and allied health professionals, as well as domestic, healthcare support staff, porters and other frontline health workers.

Staff on pay bands one to seven would receive at least a 4% pay rise compared with 2020/21.

Workers earning less than £25,000 in 2020/21 will be guaranteed a minimum increase of more than £1,000 in 2021/22.

It comes after NHS workers in Scotland also received a one-off £500 payment from the Scottish government as a thank you for their work during the coronavirus pandemic.

In Wales, all NHS and social care staff will receive a special bonus next month in recognition of their work during the Covid pandemic.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon tweeted: "Our NHS staff deserve more than applause and 1% is not enough.

"@scotgov is offering a 4% pay rise, which would deliver guaranteed minimum increase of £1000 for those earning less than £25,000 & 5.4% increase for staff on lowest pay band… and all backdated to December 2020."

The Scottish government said the deal, if accepted, will be the "most generous National Health Service pay uplift anywhere in the UK".

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