MPs or nurses: who should get a pay rise?

David Cameron and NHS staff Unions are up in arms about the government U-turn over a 1% pay rise for healthcare workers and I'm not surprised when the same politicians are planning on awarding themselves a near 14% pay hike.

Up to 1.3 million NHS staff in England are going to be denied a 1% pay increase that they were promised earlier in the year. All public sector pay increases have been capped at 1% in a bid to bring public spending under control and the NHS rise – which is linked to length of service and satisfactory performance – would add £900 million to salary costs.

NHS staff costs are extremely expensive- 40% of the total budget in fact - but running hospitals, walk-in centres and doctors' surgeries need people in order to work efficiently. And people need pay rises in order to show they are valued and to motivate them.

But most of all they need pay rises to live. Inflation is still sitting above the 2% benchmark and it's hovering within tight margins, which show that it'll be a long time before we see it come down significantly. This means NHS staff will see the value of their salary eroded over time so not only are they less motivated, they'll be poorer in real terms too.

I'm sure the staff realise they must take some of the pain of the credit crunch but they have already seen significant changes to their pension schemes that will see them work longer and pay in more. Why should nurses on the frontline of our hospitals take another hit.

It must be particularly galling for them when a review of politicians' pay and benefits earlier this year concluded that while they should have their uber-generous pensions cut right back they would receive a whopping great pay-rise to compensate for it.

This pay increase would boost politicians pay by £10,000, or 13.75%, to £75,000.

For a nurse that earns an average of £24,000 a year, a £10,000 pay rise for a politician that wants to stop to cap their pay is taking the proverbial.

Maybe the government should leave the public to vote on who they'd rather have a £10,000 pay rise – NHS staff or MPs. I'm sure I can guess exactly where the public would rather see their hard-earned taxes go towards and it wouldn't be lining the pockets of out of touch MPs who persist in making decisions from their ivory tower.
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