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NHA Party Statement regarding 1% “Pay Rise” for NHS Staff

Key Points:

  • The government offer of a 1% "pay rise" to NHS and care staff is an insult to all the exhausted and traumatised  healthcare workers who have kept our hospitals and the country going in the pandemic
  • There is enough money in the system to fund a substantial pay rise. We support #NHSPay15
  • We plan to stand candidates in the forthcoming council elections who will  campaign for well-funded NHS and social care and oppose cuts and austerity
  • We are issuing a call to action to our members and supporters, see below

Our Statement:

With its latest announcement, the government has once again shown its true colours and its utter disregard for all the essential workers who keep the country going during ordinary times and especially during the pandemic, whether they be teachers, shop and supermarket workers, refuse workers, nurses, cleaners, doctors and many more.

While the government’s pay proposal relates to NHS staff, other key workers will get the message too that the government is not interested in their ability to keep a roof over their head and heat their homes, to eat, to put petrol in their cars. Even worse, the government has shown that it is barely interested in their survival during the pandemic.

Among Intensive Care staff, almost half now fulfil diagnostic criteria for one of several mental health disorders, predominantly Post –Traumatic Stress Disorder according to the British Medical Journal. Many others live with Long Covid for months on end, some unable to return to their jobs in the NHS and care sector.

More than 900 NHS and care staff have died after contracting Covid-19. On 5th March, we marked the anniversary of the first two Covid-19 deaths in UK by holding a Day of Remembrance for all the people who sadly passed away. Meanwhile the government showed itself to be utterly disinterested in this tragic anniversary.

Against this background, it is inexcusable to deny essential NHS and care staff a substantial pay rise such as #NHSPay15 that would go some way to reverse part of the pay cuts over the last decade. It would be a tangible mark of respect for the exhausting and utterly traumatising work nurses and all healthcare staff have done over the last year. It would be a tangible mark of respect for the emotional burden carried by staff who so frequently were the last human beings on Earth seen by those who died in the pandemic.

Looking at all the £ billions the government spent on often initially undeclared contracts for privatised testing etc during the pandemic, their refusal to pay a decent salary to the very people who keep the country and our hospitals going becomes totally incomprehensible.

While the government has no problem dishing out tens of £ billions to its mates and donors, it has suddenly declared that there is no money to pay for a substantial pay rise for NHS and social care staff. We need to say it again: this is dishonest, there is enough money in the system, as Richard Murphy so eloquently describes in his Tax Research blog:

In the last year the government has had to spend around £400bn it did not have (the final cost is not known yet). And despite everything that had been said about taxpayer’s money being in short supply, the money to settle the bills was available.

It was always going to be. There was never a doubt about that. And the government has always known the truth on this issue, even if there have been persistent lies about it. The reality is that the Bank of England has always been able to create money, on government demand.

This is simple to do. The government asks to borrow a billion from the Bank of England. The Bank agrees to lend it, which is pretty unsurprising given it’s owned by the government, and simply records the loan in its books, and that’s all it takes to create the money.

There is no printing press. No notes and coin are involved. Nor is any taxpayer. Least of all is any so-called ‘taxpayer’s money’. The government tells its own bank to lend it money, without ever agreeing a repayment date or interest rate, and it exists. Money, from thin air.

There always was a magic money tree. All the denials by all the politicians from all the parties who ever queued up to assure us that we had to ‘live within our means’ (which it transpired meant the money the commercial banks were willing to lend us) were talking nonsense.

We weren’t constrained by the commercial banks. Or the money markets. Or the willingness of foreigners to lend to us. Nor did the government need to collect tax due before it spent. What a few of us knew, and most economists denied, was that the government creates its own money.”

The National Health Action Party demands a substantial pay rise worthy of the name, such as #NHSPay15.

We will support industrial action arising out of the government’s complete and utter disregard for our NHS and care workforce, Covid-19 permitting, in person or virtually.

We are planning to stand candidates for the upcoming local elections. All our candidates will oppose austerity and absolute or relative pay cuts for workers.

Finally, we also ask you, our members and supporters, to take action. Please

  1. Write to your MP in support of NHS and care workers. You can find your MP here: https://www.writetothem.com.
  2. If/ when industrial action among NHS and social care staff takes place, please support the strike in your areas +/- virtually. So many staff are traumatised not only from seeing so much death but also from abuse by Covid deniers and through fear and concern for their own families.
  3. Join an NHS campaign group such as Keep Our NHS Public or local / regional groups near you
  4. If you haven’t already, please join us and campaign with our candidates in the local elections: nhaparty.org/join

Thank you

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