Nursing pay calls not ‘realistic’ and ‘one for the fairies’, says MP

The news comes only days after it was revealed there would be no pay rise for nurses in next week’s Budget. 

James McKay
28 February 2021
Karl McCartney

Experienced nurses have seen a £6144 real-terms pay cut over the past decade.

An MP has dubbed the current call for a pay rise for NHS workers unrealistic and “one for the fairies”.

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During an interview Karl McCartney, the Conservative MP for Lincoln, told BBC Politics North viewers that the Royal College of Nursing’s (RCN) demand for a 12.5% pay rise for its members were unrealistic.

When asked if the Chancellor should commit to the rise Mr McCartney said; “No, I don’t think he should – that’s a union doing their best for their members and you can’t blame them but 12.5% is far in excess of being realistic and certainly one for the fairies.”

Mr McCartney admitted that while healthcare pay needs to better reflect their roles, it would “cause more inflation” and “all sorts of taxes could rise to enable public sector workers to be paid more”.

The news comes only days after it was revealed there would be no pay rise for nurses in next week’s Budget. 

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Figures instead suggest that over the past decade the most experienced front-line nurses are £6144 per year worse off due to wages failing to keep up with the rate of inflation (RPI).

In stark contrast, MPs have been handed eight pay rises in the last ten years.

Anthony Johnson, Lead Organiser for the grassroots campaigning group Nurses United, responded to Mr McCartney’s comments; ” As this Government knows pay directly affects the safety of our NHS – nurses know this too and see it with their colleagues taking early retirement and refusing to revalidate after a decade of real terms pay restraint.

“If there was ever a moment when this has been crystallised it was COVID-19 with our health system overrun and understaffed.

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“I am outraged to hear any MP call the safety of my patients a fairy tale. If NHS workers aren’t offered a substantive pay rise perhaps this MPs second term will also be “for the fairies”.

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