Theresa May to nurse who says she hasn't had a pay rise in eight years: 'There's no magic money tree'

NHS pay has not risen in line with inflation

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Indy Politics

Theresa May has responded to a nurse's concerns over pay in the NHS by saying there is no "magic money tree" to provide "everything that people want".

On the BBC's Question Time leaders special the Prime Minister was asked by a long-serving nurse: "Working as a nurse for 26 years, do the Tories expect our support in the light of another 1 per cent pay increase?"

Her pay had not risen in real terms for several years, the woman added.

Ms May responded that the Government planned to spend £500m on the NHS by 2020.

She said: "We're putting in more money at the moment and we'll continue to put more money in into the future. It's important that we recognise as you will know as a nurse, the demands on the NHS are increasing all the time. We recognise the work that NHS staff do.

"Nurses get an increase, obviously with some other payments as well."

The nurse responded and said: "My wage slips from 2009 reflect exactly what I'm earning today, so how can that be fair in light of the job that we actually do?"

The PM said: "We have had to take some hard choices across the public sector in relation to public sector pay restraint. We did that because of the decisions we had to take to bring public spending under control because it wasn't under control under the last Labour government.

"I'm being honest with you in terms of saying that we will put more money into the NHS, but there isn't a magic money tree that we can shake that suddenly provides for everything that people want."

It was announced earlier this year that NHS staff are receiving a 1 per cent pay rise this year even as inflation rose by 2.3 per cent.

Midwives have seen their pay drop in value by over £6,000 since 2010 due to below-inflation increases, according to the Royal College of Midwives, who said low pay was contributing to a midwife shortage.

Bursaries for student nurses have also been scrapped in favour of loans, in order to free up some £800m in funding for added nursing roles.

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