NHS Staff Pay

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:38 pm on 8th March 2021.

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Photo of Helen Whately Helen Whately Minister of State (Department of Health and Social Care) 3:38 pm, 8th March 2021

My apologies, Mr Speaker.

I do not think that we should play politics with these very serious questions as we come through a pandemic that has hit us and the world so hard, when people have lost their lives, people have lost their jobs, and we as a Government have had to spend so much to support the economy, individuals and, indeed, the NHS. I have been speaking to staff on the frontline of health and social care throughout this pandemic, and I and the Government are grateful to them and thank them from the bottom of our hearts for what they have done and are still doing. While so much of the public sector is having a pay freeze, NHS staff will get a pay rise.

In these difficult times, the Government have submitted their evidence to the pay review bodies and, as I said in my opening statement, they will report back to us. They will look at a wide range of evidence, including, for instance, evidence from trade unions, inflation, and the wider situation with the economy and pay levels, and we will of course look at their recommendations carefully.

The right hon. Gentleman talked about the vote that we had on the NHS Funding Act and, yes, we absolutely did vote for it. We are fulfilling our commitment to record investment in the NHS—£34 billion more. He also referred to the long-term plan and, although not something we voted on, the 2.1% increase within it will be invested in the NHS workforce this year. That will include not only these pay rises, but pay progression and further investment in the NHS workforce.

We will continue to invest in more doctors and more nurses for the NHS, and I wish that the right hon. Gentleman would welcome that. We will continue to support the recovery of our economy and restore our public finances, so that we can fund our NHS not just through the pandemic, but into the future.