MP and county councillor call for rethink over ‘low’ 1% pay increase for NHS staff

Industrial action

A county councillor representing Ramsgate and a Thanet MP have both voiced concerns over the 1% pay rise -above inflation – for NHS staff announced in this week’s Budget.

County Councillor Karen Constantine, who sits on the authority’s health scrutiny committee, has called the level of pay increase an “insult” and not reflective of the reward owed to staff who have been working on the frontline throughout the covid pandemic.

North Thanet MP Sir Roger Gale has also said the rise is not enough and the decision should be made by the pay review body.

He told BBC Radio 4 that there should be recognition for all NHS staff, including ancillary workers, and that recognition could consist of a ‘very large, tax free’ one-off payment or a pay settlement decided by the board and honoured by government.

Cllr Constantine said: “One per cent! I feel embarrassed. During the pandemic, for various reasons I’ve had a lot of contact with our NHS staff. On a professional and personal basis. I’ve had the opportunity to listen carefully, conscious of the extreme pressure they are under, including not being able to take their leave and working a lot of overtime, sometimes unpaid. I’m aware of staff volunteering to help during their ‘time off’.

“Indeed at yesterday’s HOSC Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee, I thanked all our NHS staff and checked how recruitment was going. Apparently applications to train to become nurses are up. Fantastic news giving the dire nursing shortages.

“This week’s budget was an ideal opportunity to properly reward our all our NHS workers, including the nurses, the cleaners, the porters etc. But more than this, this is the single most important group of workers during the last year. Thanks are also due to many other workers of course but who can debate what our health workers have been through to save our lives?”

Cllr Constantine is now calling on local NHS workers to contact her with their thoughts and feelings about the pay award.

She has written to South Thanet MP Craig Mackinlay to seek a meeting to discuss the level of pay rise in light of national staff shortages and an expected overall decline in NHS spending in the next financial year.

She says in her letter to Mr Mackinlay that NHS staff need “a proper reward package and a serious plan to deal with the vast rise in mental health conditions caused by the COVID pandemic.”

All communication will be treated as confidential. You can contact Karen by email [email protected]

Strike fund

The Royal College of Nursing Council has responded to the pay increase level by setting up a £35 million industrial action fund.

A strike fund is an amount of money that can be used to support workers, who are members of a trade union, to provide some compensation for loss of earnings and campaigning during industrial action.

RCN Council says it is determined to have the finances available to members should they wish to take industrial action.

Members can join RCN Chief Executive and General Secretary Dame Donna Kinnair and members of RCN Council and the RCN Trade Union Committee for an update at an online event tonight at 7pm. Find out how to join the event.

Dame Donna Kinnair said a 1% pay rise would mean an increase of just £3.50 a week in take-home pay for an experienced nurse. She is calling for a 12.5% pay increase.

Pay freeze

A pay freeze was announced for other public sector workers, including teachers and police officers.

The government says the Covid pandemic had placed a “huge strain” on NHS finances but the pay increase is above the CPI rate of inflation and some NHS staff will get a higher rise under a previous three year deal agreement.


  1. South Thanet MP Craig Mackinlay has nothing to say about this – presumably he thinks 1% is fine for all those nurses who have saved so many people, many at the cost of their own lives. How about MPs pay increases being restricted to 1%? Mackinlay is not even worth that!

  2. Nurses and other NHS staff have it easy compared to private sector workers. They do not have threats of job cuts , furloughs or not being able to trade for months on end. Tghey get two wage rises a year (one cost of living AND an increment on their grade). Time to stop whinging and realise just how cossetted they are from reality.

    • Check your facts. There are no longer annual increments and can be up to 5 years between incremental advances. Furthermore pay was frozen for a number of years with no cost of living increase, and a proposal of 1% when inflation predicted to be 1.7% for the relevant period is a pay cut. NHS workers have been working throughout this period and not sat at hone being paid furlough pay.

  3. The most unappreciated and undervalued NHS staff are the health care assistants. They do more hands-on care than the trained nurses yet are some of the lowest paid. 1% pay rise will mean nothing to them. There are no perks in the NHS it’s hard work for little reward. The job satisfaction of helping others and being appreciated by the patients is a good part of the job. However that part does not pay the Bills. I have worked as a senior nurse for many year’s.

  4. I think you’ll be in a minority of 1 there Kevin. Don’t forget to give them this opinion next time you need their help!

  5. The government paid £22Billion to a private enterprise for a Covid Track and Trace system that doesn’t work. In his budget, the Chancellor dished out many more millions of public money into the private ourse.
    No wonder they can’t afford to pay key workers generally and NHS staff in particular decent wage.
    Did you stand on your doorstep and clap last Spring? Then spend a couple of moments emailing your MP, and tell him what you think.

  6. Be sure, Kevin, that if ever you need to go to hospital for NHS treatment, that you introduce yourself and proudly tell them that you’re the bloke that thinks “Nurses and other NHS staff have it easy compared to private sector workers. “

  7. What about the staff who work for organisations who fulfill NHS contracts but have none of the job security, pension, sick pay, discounts or pay rises that NHS staff can enjoy? I’m one of them. I find it galling that an NHS employee in the exact same role and with the same level of experience as myself earns £8k more per year, plus all the above mentioned perks. I had to give up my NHS role/pension 12 years ago and I can’t wait until the day that Kent decides to reintegrate my role back into the NHS rather than allow Thanet CCG to farm it out to the stingiest bidder.I get irked about being a puppet in the “Any Qualified Provider” tendering system but I’m still bloody grateful that I have a job where I get to change others lives for the better. And yes, Ann is absolutely right that the HCAs are the most undervalued staff. My mum was one and was always the person holding someone’s hand as they died, or washing them to restore their dignity. She did her job with such pride. As for K’s comments – I’ve worked for the NHS, private sector and third sector and you’re wrong about NHS staff being cosseted. You don’t get much more real than birth, illness and death on a daily basis. You have to constantly fight in statutory bodies to hold on to your wages and roles in the ever-shifting workplace. Myself and my NHS colleagues are forever re-interviewing for our own jobs as teams and trusts merge and split again. I’ve known many NHS colleagues to be made redundant only for higher management to ask later why we don’t have a certain role. Well, because you deemed it irrelevant and now you’re having to re-recruit 2 years later. Many NHS and third sector staff could make a hell of a lot more money in the corporate sector but have a vocation so put up with the constant uncertainty.

    • Liza you are having a augh aren’t you? But I don’t find it in the slightest bit funny and some silly sods will probably take this as the truth. It’s how fake news starts.

      • I think the sods would have to be *very* silly to believe this article was not a spoof.
        However, it is Thanet, and we did return the first (and only) UKIP Local Authority.

      • Well if anyone really thinks salary starts at £1.25 million andxad a free sports car I would suggest they need urgent medical care

  8. If private sector workers are having a worse time than nurses and other health workers right now, then the solution is to make sure that the minimum wage is raised and that their jobs are protected by law, rather than stir up resentment towards public sector workers. This is an old tactic,”divide and rule”.

    In the end, ALL the workforce loses out. A scramble to the bottom,just to keep low paid work and insecure jobs.

  9. I am surprised that people are surprised ! We are talking Tories here who dont want a free NHS.

    The Tories were never in a million years going to give the NHS a decent pay raise. Everyone knows the Tories mantra is the rich get richer the poor get poorer.

    I am so proud of our NHS, the frontline staff, nurses, doctors, porters, cleaners etc.

    But I am not surprised with this 1% kicknin the teeth for them. We are under a Tory government. Do why know what our two PM have had to say on this ?

  10. 18k for every pub. Even though pub industry was struggling way before covid.

    But no money for NHS workers.

    Hancock will be telling Us to give a clap though in the next peak and lockdown.

    Maybe we should all give the 1% a slow clap next Thursday

    • I don’t think all the people who died in hospital under nhs care will say thanks you deserve a pay rise

      • I think their relatives would. Fact. People who have survived and come out can’t sing their praises enough, even Boris, though in his case talk was obviously cheap

      • Oh don’t you “Abc” ? What do you think these dead people would say then? perhaps they’d say something like “If the government had closed the borders in March 2020 we would still be alive”.

  11. If any nurses leave the profession they will have to find another job to pay to keep their standards of living and most of them live really well. No pay rise until everyone can get one.

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