NHS pay deal: Jeremy Hunt urges Welsh ministers

Jeremy Hunt has offered a £4.2bn pay deal to NHS workers in England, and has urged the Welsh Government to follow his example.

The UK health secretary’s offer is worth at least 6.5% over three years to staff such as nurses and porters.

Under Treasury public spending rules, it means the Welsh Government could get an estimated additional £210m to spend.

Wales’ Health Secretary Vaughan Gething told the Senedd the extra money would be spent on NHS pay.

Until now, health service pay in England had been subject to the UK government’s 1% cap on public sector pay rises.

Mr Hunt told the Commons on Wednesday: “I very much hope the devolved governments will follow suit with this deal, although I have to say that for every pound per head we put into the NHS in England Labour in Wales has only been putting in 57 pence.”

Ben Lake, Plaid Cymru MP for Ceredigion, said he welcomed the fact that NHS workers in England “will finally be getting a pay rise that they deserve”.

He asked Mr Hunt to clarify how much extra cash the Welsh Government would get as a result of the deal.

Jeremy Hunt said Welsh ministers could “replicate this deal in Wales if they choose to”
Mr Hunt told him: “This constitutes an investment by the Treasury of £4.2bn.

“The normal Barnett consequentials will apply so it is perfectly possible for the Labour government in Wales to replicate this deal in Wales if they choose to.

“But of course we do know that had they replicated the increases in funding in the NHS in England, the NHS in Wales would have an additional billion pounds spent on it over the last five years.”

Under Barnett formula rules, the Welsh Government can spend the extra money on anything it likes.

Vaughan Gething welcomes the lifting of the 1% public sector pay cap for health workers
But Wales’ Health Secretary Vaughan Gething told the Senedd on Wednesday that in this case the extra money would be spent on NHS pay.

“I am pleased the UK government has listened to my repeated calls to lift the public sector pay cap and provide additional funding to reward NHS staff across the UK,” he said.

“The NHS Wales Partnership Forum is meeting tomorrow to offer advice on how any consequential could be used in Wales.”

Earlier, Welsh Conservative health spokeswoman Angela Burns said the deal showed the UK government “values the vital contribution made by our NHS staff”.

“It’s time for Labour to call time on bumper pay deals for Welsh NHS managers, and invest any new money as a result of this deal in hard-working Welsh NHS staff on the frontline.”

Plaid Cymru health spokesman Rhun ap Iorwerth said there were “no more excuses” for the Labour Welsh Government “not to lift this abhorrent pay cap”.

He said his party was “urging the Welsh Government to act as soon as possible, so that nurses will get the pay rise they deserve”.

Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-politics-43490205

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