Tory health minister "pleasantly surprised" by NHS pay rise of just 1 %
"Unfortunately, the 1% is all that we can afford"
Nadine Dorries has said she was "pleasantly surprised" after this week's Budget revealed that NHS staff in England would receive a 1 per cent pay rise.
After the challenges faced by more than a million health service workers over the course of the coronavirus pandemic, the move to offer only a slight pay increase has been widely criticised, with Labour health unions describing it as "the worst kind of insult".
Appearing on BBC Breakfast, Dorries, the Conservative health minister, appeared to focus on the positive aspect of the proposal by highlighting how other public sector workers were having their pay frozen.
"I was actually surprised because I knew that we’d frozen public-sector pay, that no-one in the public sector was receiving a pay rise, so I was pleasantly surprised that we were making an offer," she said.
Asked if the improved pay was enough of an incentive to make her sign up to work for the NHS, she added: "I believe nurses are about more than superficial soundbites, I think nurses love their job. They do their job because they love their job.
"I was a nurse myself," she added. "I became a nurse because I loved nursing. I hope that those nurses who love their jobs too will stay in the NHS and stick with us through what is a difficult time."
Dorries also stressed that NHS workers were appreciated for their efforts over the last year, but that the increase being proposed is the limit of what the government can afford.
"I hope they receive the message that we totally appreciate their efforts over the last year. We hugely value them, which is why the government knew they could not go with some pay offer, but unfortunately the 1% is all that we can afford."
“The government knew they couldn’t go without some pay offer but unfortunately the 1% is all we can afford”
Health minister Nadine Dorries MP is challenged over the proposed 1% pay rise for NHS staff in England on #BBCBreakfast. https://t.co/OwRCGQL0Ij pic.twitter.com/2PQtnR1ybb
— BBC Breakfast (@BBCBreakfast) March 5, 2021