'Unforgivable' that nurses and healthcare assistants left out of public sector pay rise

21 July 2020, 16:50

The pay rise will not include nurses and healthcare staff
The pay rise will not include nurses and healthcare staff. Picture: PA
Rachael Kennedy

By Rachael Kennedy

It is "unforgivable" to have left nurses and care staff out of the recently announced public sector pay rise, social care providers have said.

An above-inflation pay rise announced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak on Tuesday will result in around 900,000 getting extra cash in their wages.

This includes police, prison officers, National Crime Agency staff, members of the judiciary, armed forces and senior servants - and with teachers and doctors seeing the largest rises of 3.1% and 2.8% respectively.

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But this rise will not include nurses and healthcare assistants, who are currently covered by a three-year pay deal that was agreed in 2018.

As a result, a number of providers have criticised this move, with the Institute for Public Policy Research think tank saying this exclusion was "unforgivable" and an "unjustifiable snub".

Dame Donna Kinnair, chief executive of the Royal College of Nursing, stressed it was even more important this year to "value these professionals and begin to fill the tens of thousands of vacant posts".

Meanwhile, junior doctors, despite getting a 2% increase, will mean the majority see their wages fall between £500 and £850 compared to those in senior positions within two years, according to the Hospital Doctors' Union (HSCA).

According to the HSCA, the pay increase announcement will "land a damaging psychological blow on England's lowest-paid doctors".

For care workers, the government has been accused of sidestepping the issue around low pay in the announcement.

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Vic Rayner, the executive director at the National Care Forum, which represents 120 of the UK's social care charities, said: "It is unacceptable for the Government to sidestep the issue around social care workers' pay in today's announcement.

"Care workers have been a stalwart of the Covid front line and need recognition. This has never been a low-skilled job, and should never again be consigned as a low-paid role.

"We need the government to act now to ensure that each and every care worker is rewarded for their extraordinary work."

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Mark Adams, chief executive of the social care charity Community Integrated Care, said the announcement constituted a "national shame" as care workers risked their lives on the frontline with coronavirus.

He said: "Whilst investment in public sector workers is clearly welcome, it is bitterly disappointing that social care remains overlooked and ignored by government.

"The persistent restrictions on social care funding means that this is by default a largely minimum wage sector.

"With 80% of our income being spent directly on salaries, care providers do not have capacity to independently provide the uplifts that our workforce deserves without investment in our sector.

"This is continually not happening and it is illogical for the Government to present this as a local authority responsibility to solve."

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