Tory claims that the NHS cannot afford ‘inflationary’ pay rises have prompted Labour accusations that NHS staff would face pay cuts under a Tory government.
Shadow health secretary Andrew Lansley had said that pay should be set locally, and that ‘future NHS allocations will not be able to accommodate inflationary staff costs’.
He added: ‘The problem in recent years has been that staff pay has simply increased in line with the huge rises in the NHS budget.’
He was supporting party leader David Cameron, who had told the Local Government Association conference: It is wrong to be going into 2010 with quite aggressive spending increases when we should be starting to make savings now.
‘I do think that one of the ways to avoid very deep cuts in the future is to make a start now.’
A spokesman for Mr Lansley said that he had been pointing out that ‘the NHS cannot afford massive pay rises’, that the Tories were committed to devolving control to local NHS employers and that the pay decisions would not be made by a Conservative health secretary.
Would nurses earn less under a Conservative government?