Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 1:54 pm on 13th September 2017.

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Photo of Philippa Whitford Philippa Whitford Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Health and Social Care) 1:54 pm, 13th September 2017

It is very important that people recognise the role that everyone plays, but for nurses in particular this is not just a matter of pay. Last year, we spent a lot of time debating changes to working tax credits, which can leave a lone parent nurse very much worse off. We also spent a lot of time debating the imposition of tuition fees and the removal of the nursing bursary. The nursing bursary still exists in Scotland. It is a non-means tested bursary of £6,500, potentially with a caring supplement of £3,500. We know that the average age to take up nursing study is at the end of the 20s, which means that people often have family commitments. Such people will receive approximately £10,000 a year so that, at the end, they will not face what future nurses in England will face, which is a debt of more than £50,000. The repayment on that kicks in immediately, because graduate nurses start at around £22,000, which is over the limit. At the lower end of band 5, that is another £400 a year off. By the time a nurse gets to the top of band 5, it is another £1,000 a year off. They will never manage to pay off that £50,000 to £60,000, which means that their salary will be reduced by that amount throughout their careers.