A recently leaked Treasury document proposed a two-year public sector pay freeze.
The health secretary has today refused to guarantee a pay increase for frontline healthcare workers.
When questioned by a member of the public at today’s daily Downing Street press briefing, Matt Hancock refused to commit to increasing pay but instead promised staff a “fair reward”.
Speaking live, Hancock admitted nursing was a “highly skilled profession and deserves decent pay” but quickly claimed that nurses had already received a “very significant” pay rise.
NHS staff in England recently received their final annual rise following a multi-year pay deal. The majority of nurses saw a pre-tax rise of just 7% over three years.
Mr Hancock said; “We put up nurses’ pay last month, and in fact last year we had the fastest rise, the biggest rise in pay – especially for nurses who are starting their career and the lowest paid nurses, who got a very significant pay rise of over 15%.
“So there has been a significant pay rise for nurses. And I think one of the things the crisis has shown is just how much the nation values our staff across the health and care system, including nurses.
“And when it comes to how we reward people for their efforts in this crisis, what I can tell you is that as the Health Secretary I will be making sure that we fight to have that fair reward.”
The news comes after a leaked Treasury document proposed a two-year public sector pay freeze and income tax hikes to pay the government’s coronavirus bill – unions dubbed the proposals a ‘slap in the face’.
Responding to previously, Chief Executive and General Secretary of the Royal College of Nursing, Dame Donna Kinnair said: “This proposal is the exact opposite of what’s expected and deserved and, if pursued, will outrage nursing professionals and the public alike.
“We will make sure no government forgets the professionalism demonstrated by all nursing staff during this pandemic and before it.’