Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Scrapping of NHS pay cap underlined by Corbyn, but no minimum salary uplift pledged

  • 1 Comment

Jeremy Corbyn has reiterated his party’s election pledge to remove the 1% annual pay rise cap for NHS nurses, but would not give Nursing Times a guarantee on by how much nurse wages would increase under a Labour government.

The Labour Party leader said it would be down to the independent NHS Pay Review Body to recommend the level of salary increases for nurses in the future and for negotiations with unions to follow.

“I want [Labour health minister] Jon Ashworth to ensure that the pay cap is lifted and that negotiations can take place”

Jeremy Corbyn

During a warmly received speech at the Royal College of Nursing’s annual conference in Liverpool earlier today, he said Labour would “hand back decisions on pay” to the NHS Pay Review Body.

Clarifying his point to Nursing Times later, he claimed the review body had been unable to act independently for the last few years while the government’s policy of a 1% cap was in place, despite the formal process of ministers, employers and unions submitting evidence to the body having largely continued.

However,  the Labour leader would not be drawn on how much he thought the increase should be. When asked by Nursing Times whether he would be able to guarantee a minimum salary uplift, particularly in view of the estimated 14% real-terms cut to wages since 2010, he reiterated that it should be for the review body to recommend. 

“I want nurses to be properly paid,” he said. “I want [Labour health spokesman] Jon Ashworth to ensure that the pay cap is lifted and that negotiations can take place, and there can be a good and fair settlement.

“Health service workers have been paying the price of the banking crisis of 2008 and that is wrong,” he added.

In contrast, the Liberal Democrat Party has today pledged to both remove the 1% pay cap on public sector wages and also increase salaries in line with inflation – leading to an estimated salary increase of £527 a year for nurses by 2021, according to the party.

During Mr Corbyn’s keynote speech to the conference today he reiterated Labour’s pledge to reinstate student nurse bursaries in England, should the party win the general election on 8 June – reversing the decision taken by the government, which comes into effect from this autumn.

“I am utterly determined we will bring back the nurse bursary so there isn’t a nurse staffing crisis in five years, 10 years and 15 years’ time”

Jeremy Corbyn

“It is utterly short-sighted and counterproductive and totally unfair on the student nurses of tomorrow, of the nursing profession of tomorrow and the community of today,” he told delegates.

“I am utterly determined we will bring back the nurse bursary so there isn’t a nurse staffing crisis in five years, 10 years and 15 years’ time,” said Mr Corbyn.

Responding to a later question from an RCN member about whether Labour would limit the number of student bursaries available in England, he said a “realistic assessment was needed” about what the NHS needed.

“I think you have to look at the number of nurses we need and recruit accordingly, so I don’t think you can say it’s totally open-ended. But let’s make sure there is a realistic assessment of the nursing needs of the NHS,” he said.

A draft manifesto – the full version of which is due to be published tomorrow – that was leaked last week said the party would immediately guarantee the right to remain for European Union staff working in the NHS and care sector.

Mr Cobryn confirmed today that on “day one” of a Labour government, the party would legislate to ensure all EU nationals who wished to remain in the UK could do so after Brexit.

“Our NHS would not work without those that have come to this country,” he said.

The party leader also said he would appoint a mental health minister if Labour won the election.

“Our mental health service, where 6,000 mental health nurses have lost their jobs in the past seven years, is under enormous strain”

Jeremy Corbyn

He previously appointed Luciana Berger, MP for Liverpool Wavertree, as the first ever shadow minister for mental health in 2015. But she later stepped down in the wake of the EU referendum and was not replaced.

During his speech today, Mr Corbyn said Labour would also make an “utter reality” of parity of esteem between mental and physical health.

“Our mental health service, where 6,000 mental health nurses have lost their jobs in the past seven years, is under enormous strain,” he said.

”I’m utterly determined that parity of esteem will be a reality and that there will be a properly funded mental health service all over this country in the future,” he said.

He also reiterated the party’s pledge to bring in nurse staffing legislation to protect NHS workers, noting that “many of you work very hard - I suspect everyone here often works well beyond he hours you are paid for”.

He highlighted that the Labour Party had pledged an extra £7.4bn a year for the NHS throughout the next parliament – including £2bn annually to modernise buildings and IT systems.

Mr Corbyn said this would be funded through additional income tax for the top 5% of earners, as well as additional money coming from corporation tax on businesses and increasing tax on private medical insurance.

Royal College of Nursing

Corbyn commits to up nurse pay but gives no amount pledge

Jeremy Corbyn at the RCN’s annual conference before the 2017 general election

Labour Party

Corbyn commits to up nurse pay but gives no amount pledge

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn address the 2017 RCN congress in Liverpool

  • 1 Comment

Readers' comments (1)

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.