The proposal for a mere 1% pay rise suggests this Government do not value the risks taken and sacrifices made by health and care staff throughout the pandemic, nor the challenge that they will face to clear the backlog. Like their initial refusal to extend free school meals, it also shows the Government are out of touch with the public.
With a workforce crisis before the pandemic, does the Minister really believe that such a mean award will help recruit and retain healthcare staff? Senior band 5 nurses in England already earn up to £1,000 less than their Scottish counterparts, while the removal of the nursing bursary and imposition of tuition fees has saddled recently qualified nurses with up to £50,000 of debt. I am sure the Minister knows that shops do not accept claps instead of cash. Will this Government not give health and social care staff a decent pay rise and consider a one-off thank you payment, as in Scotland?