Labour’s NHS Pay Policy Confusion

Under Keir Starmer, Labour’s stance on NHS pay is unclear; Shadow Cabinet members have variously called for a 2.1%, 12.5%, and 15% pay rise, with different ministers backing and rejecting a nurses’ strike. So once again, nobody actually knows what Labour precisely stands for now the government has accepted the official advice and awarded a 3% rise… 

On March 7, 2021 Labour demanded “at least” a 2.1% pay rise for nurses whilst refusing to take a position on exactly how much the rise should be. Starmer equivocated three times over how much he would give NHS workers in an interview on March 5, saying:

“They [nurses] need a fair rise in pay above inflation to be properly recognised and rewarded for what they’ve put in the last 12 months”. 

However, Keir told LBC today that the government’s proposed 3% pay rise was “not enough” and “not fair”. Not only that, Labour’s Mark Drakeford has also backed a 3% pay rise for Welsh NHS staff. So no one – perhaps not even Starmer – knows if  a 3% pay rise is really unacceptable to Labour or not…

Later on LBC, Starmer described a 15% pay increase as “high”, contradicting the far-left Labour MPs led by John McDonnell, who argued that the party should back the eye-watering 15% rise.

Further, it remains completely unclear whether Labour will back a nurses’ strike or not. Jon Ashworth previously refused to rule out backing industrial action by NHS staff, saying“I will always support our nurses”, yet on LBC this morning Starmer stated “nobody wants to see strike action.” Labour’s lack of a clear direction is confusing everyone, even its own leadership…

mdi-tag-outline LBC NHS
mdi-account-multiple-outline Keir Stamer
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