Statement on NHS strike – George Freeman MP

It is disappointing that trade unions are taking industrial action today and have rejected our proposals to give NHS staff at least 1% additional pay this year and at least a further 1% next year.
NHS staff are our greatest asset, and we've increased the NHS budget to pay for over 12,500 more clinical staff since 2010. We cannot afford a pay rise in addition to increments – which disproportionately reward the highest earners – without risking frontline jobs. The increases demanded by the unions - a £450 million pay award on top of increments – would cost the equivalent of 14,000 newly qualified nurses.
It is important to emphasize that over fifty per cent of NHS staff receive annual incremental pay increases. These increases average over three per cent per person and cost the NHS almost £1 billion a year. They are also inherently unfair, penalising the lowest paid and rewarding highly paid senior managers. For example a senior manager can expect an increment of 6.8% in one year, jumping from £61,779 to £65,922, compared to a health care assistant who will receive an average of 2.5% each year, moving from £14,294 to £14,653 in one year.
We have taken action to protect the lowest paid staff in the NHS. For example the take home pay of a Health Care Assistants has risen by 12% in the last four years, in line with CPI inflation. NHS staff have seen a higher increase in earnings than the public sector average, rising by an average of 6% since 




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