Sajid Javid was in no mood to entertain pleas for a “proper pay rise for NHS staff” in the House of Commons yesterday.
The new health secretary fielded questions for the first time since he replaced Matt Hancock this weekend.
He used the time to reassure his peers that England’s lockdown restrictions will end on July 19th and that he will “help return the economic and cultural life that makes this country so great.”
Sajid Javid makes appalling judgement call in first move as new Health Secretary, recklessly proposing to lift covid restrictions on 19 July come what may, just as case numbers driven by Delta variant rising exponentially again. This is the mindset of a market fundamentalist!— Professor Christopher Painter (@PrfChrisPainter) June 28, 2021
Don’t insult us
But there was no such assurances for NHS staff, who have endured a torrid past year.
Yesterday leading nurses pleaded with Javid not to “insult nurses” by giving them a 1 per cent pay rise.
NHS staff were due a pay rise in April, but ministers said they would await the recommendations of the body which reviews pay.
Feedback from the NHS Pay Review Body is likely to be in Mr Javid’s in-tray, the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) said.
The Government recommended that certain NHS staff, including nurses, should receive a 1 per cent pay rise.
But Pat Cullen, acting chief executive and general secretary of the RCN, told BBC Breakfast: “We understand that the Pay Review Body – the body that recommends the pay award for health care staff including nurses – may very well be in his in-tray this morning.
“And what we’re saying to him, please don’t insult nurses by awarding them a 1 per cent pay award.
“That just will do nothing to try and hold on to those fantastic nurses that we’ve got in our system, not one of them can we afford to lose, but it also would attract [more nurses], and [attract new] nurses into the system.”
Challenged on the issue in parliament, Labour MP Richard Burgon pointed out that Javid has been “busy lining his own pockets” over the last year, taking £1,500 an hour for a second and third job.
Last year it was announced that the new health secretary had been appointed a senior adviser on JP Morgan’s advisory council for Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
“All while NHS staff have been working hard getting communities through the Covid crisis,” Burgon said.
Asked if it would not be the “height of hypocrisy” to deny NHS staff the pay rise they “so clear deserve”, Javid simply responded:
“The honourable gentleman is going to have to try a lot harder than that.”
The new Health Secretary has been getting paid £1,500 an HOUR over the last year for his second job and for his third job too.— Richard Burgon MP (@RichardBurgon) June 28, 2021
Today I told him that he has absolutely no right to deny NHS staff a proper pay rise.
He didn’t like it. pic.twitter.com/dX4eaDVoN9