Labour is right on the NHS pay cap – now get the fat cats out of the health service : Socialist Worker

NHS workers on strike over pay in 2014

Labour has pledged today, Wednesday, to scrap the Tories’ 1 percent pay cap for tens of thousands of health workers.

The party’s shadow health secretary John Ashworth addressed the Unison union’s health conference in Liverpool. He said health workers had been “ignored, insulted, undervalued, overworked and underpaid”.

“I can confirm that an incoming Labour government will scrap the pay cap and give NHS workers the pay they deserve,” he said.

The right wing press has already jumped on Ashworth’s speech as a “reckless” move that would push the NHS deeper into crisis. The Daily Mail newspaper claimed the cap “has helped to prevent health trusts slipping even further into the red”.

It said lifting the cap would “blow a “£1 billion hole in the health budget”—as the Tories plan to create a £22 billion crater. Their plans come on top of years of budget cuts, marketisation and privatisation that have left the NHS reeling.

Health workers lost over £4.3 billion from their wage packets between 2010 and 2016 because of the pay cap that’s imposed until 2020. If the Tories aren’t pushed back through strikes or voted out in June, workers will lose even more.

With inflation running at 2.3 percent, the cap amounts to a pay cut. This isn’t just pushing NHS workers into poverty – it has consequences for patient care.

Scandalously low pay and rocketing workloads are pushing health workers out of the NHS, fuelling an acute staffing crisis.

This has been made worse by the Tories axing bursaries for nurses, occupational therapists and other health students. As Ashworth said, “We want NHS staff to be the best trained in the world, not kick the ladder away.

“That why we will introduce NHS bursaries”.




    “Eight cash-strapped nurses every day are seeking urgent help from the Royal College of Nursing’s support-line to cope with the cost of living.

    The advice line received 510 calls seeking financial support over 65 working days in the October – December 2016 period, said the RCN.
    It noted that one in four callers who received grants from the college – worth approximately £450 – were in full-time work.

    The new figure comes after prime minister Theresa May was challenged in a BBC television interview at the weekend on nurses’ pay and the use of foodbanks.”

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