NHS workers should get fair pay with inflation considered – Sajid Javid

The Health Secretary defended pay rises in line with double-digit inflation for pensioners but not for workers.

Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Sajid Javid (James Manning/PA)
Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Sajid Javid (James Manning/PA)

NHS staff deserve “fair” pay with soaring costs taken into account, Sajid Javid said, as he defended pay rises in line with inflation for pensioners but not for workers.

The Health Secretary said his department would listen carefully to the independent NHS pay review body before setting salary increases.

He told BBC Radio 4’s PM programme: “Of course, part of showing the value we attach to whether it’s nurses or other health workers is, of course it is pay, and so along with the thanks we’ve got to make sure that we are fair in pay.

Unions have warned nurses will suffer a huge wage hit if the Government imposes a pay rise well below the soaring rate of inflation (Jane Barlow/PA)

“And that is why for example last year, whilst there was a freeze on all public sector pay, there was no freeze on NHS pay; it went up by 3% despite the challenges at the time.

“Now this year’s pay rise, I can’t tell you right now what it’s going to be but what I can tell you is that we will listen carefully to the independent pay review body, which by the way, rightly also, as well as inflation, takes into account retention and many other sensible factors.

“And it will report back to me as Secretary of State, we will take that into account and we will respond.”

Asked if he was worried about a summer of discontent in the health service, Mr Javid said: “Whatever your job is, everyone’s feeling this challenge and it’s right that the Government responds and tries to help in any way that it can”.

It's right that we think about the most vulnerable at this time

Sajid Javid

He was played a clip of a 29-year-old nurse who said health workers were living “month-to-month” and struggling to pay the bills, with many likely to move away from the NHS into better-paid jobs.

Mr Javid conceded that “she does have a point”, before telling her and other NHS workers: “Thank you for what you do”.

It comes after the Treasury confirmed that the triple lock on pensions would be reinstated, and as the Government has insisted that public sector workers receiving pay rises in line with inflation would further stoke rising prices.

Retirees are set to see double-digit payments increases next year as the state pension will be determined based on September’s CPI inflation, while workers face a real-terms pay cut.

Mr Javid defended the move, saying: “I understand the decision to make sure the basic state pension is rising by inflation because elderly people, particularly those that are relying on the basic state pension as their main source of income compared to other members of society, they can be particularly vulnerable to changes in the cost of living.

“So I think it’s right that we think about the most vulnerable at this time”.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in