NHS workers’ 1% pay rise is a national disgrace

5 March 2021

By Lauren E. White

It’s not difficult to believe I’m sitting here writing this, given that it is Boris Johnson’s government we’re talking about. What have they done this time? Proposed that NHS workers should get a 1% pay rise. That’s right: 1%.

Considering the government’s arms had to be bent to give doctors and nurses free parking at the hospitals they work at mid-pandemic, I suppose this is not actually that surprising. Considering the government then scrapped the free parking for most NHS staff, I suppose this is not actually that surprising. Considering the government’s happy to spend £340k on settling a Priti Patel bullying claim out of court at the taxpayer’s expense, this is not actually that surprising.

Yet, it is still difficult to see how anyone at all thought recommending a 1% pay rise for the NHS was a good idea. I mean, really? Who sat in a room and genuinely said: “Yeah, 1% will do for this year, and it’ll make us look really good.”


After Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak stood outside of Numbers 10 and 11 Downing Street to clap for our carers every Thursday, it is clear that they happily acknowledged the superhero effort from health workers up and down the country. But when it comes to backing that up with action, they’ve only got 1% to give, sorry. And to top it off, Nadine Dorries, the Minister for Mental Health, has come out and said that a 1% rise is “all the government can afford” (to paraphrase slightly).

It is a national disgrace that this country would genuinely turn around and tell NHS workers that we can’t afford to pay them over 1% more than we already do. We don’t want pay them too much, but we’re quite happy to fork out hundreds of thousands to stop Priti Patel’s bullying being aired in a tribunal. We don’t want to pay our NHS workers too much, but we’re quite happy for Matt Hancock to give millions of taxpayers’ cash to Conservative Party donors for PPE contracts they’re not qualified to fulfil. We don’t want to pay NHS workers too much, but Boris Johnson is jolly well happy they saved his life, and will instead name his son after a couple of the nurses.

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So, see this for what it is: a toothless government adding insult to injury. They have even had student nurses working for free on Covid wards, refusing to pay them for work that directly threatens their lives, and their families’. It is all completely shameful, and how anyone in government – or anywhere, for that matter – can genuinely suggest that NHS workers cannot receive more than a 1% pay rise is beyond me.

These folk are a different breed of hypocrite.

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