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It is a pleasure to contribute to the debate and to follow Anne Marie Morris.
Today we are talking about public services. I was an NHS worker for 33 years, so it is a subject that is very close to my heart. Working in the NHS, I saw for myself the improvements that a Labour Government brought about, most notably the introduction of “Agenda for Change” terms and conditions for NHS staff, which ensured that they were adequately remunerated for their work, with recognition of their roles, responsibilities and training.
Following the general election and formation of the coalition Government in 2010, I saw “Agenda for Change” being eroded. The coalition refused to accept the recommendations of the pay review bodies, which were a linchpin of the “Agenda for Change” agreement, and NHS staff began to see their wages stagnate, with pay freezes, or below-inflation pay rises for the lucky ones.