Keir Starmer has conceded that nurses’ demands of a 19% pay rise are “probably more than can be afforded”. He added the government should cobble together a compromise deal with the union barons to “resolve” the gridlock but – stopping short of saying what that deal should look like…
Speaking to Nick Ferrari on LBC, Starmer said:
“I do accept that what they are asking for is probably more than can be afforded, I am not going to pretend otherwise… I want to see this resolved… I think 19% is more than can be afforded by the government. But I would get around the table and negotiate something that works for both sides… nobody wants to take industrial action. Of course they don’t…”
Sir Keir also threw his weight behind shadow health secretary Wes Streeting over his row with the British Medical Association, after Streeting sent the union into meltdown over the weekend by claiming “the BMA does doctors no favours when they vote for motions that look like they’re living on a different planet”. This morning Starmer added:
“I do agree and I spoke to Wes about it this morning, a very strong feeling that as we reform the NHS we have got to think about working differently and simply saying surgery only between 9 and 5 simply doesn’t fit with that pattern. Of course it is difficult but what I want to see from everybody as we go into reform if we do as a Labour government is a can-do attitude which is ‘okay, let’s be up for this.”
Reform in the NHS? Labour? How long will this last?