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Liz Saville Roberts says one-off payments to NHS staff should be treated as support with the cost-of-living crisis not a pay rise

09 Jan 2023 3 minute read
Plaid Cymru MP Liz Saville Roberts in the House of Commons.

Plaid Cymru’s Westminster leader says one-off payments to NHS staff should be treated as support with the cost-of-living crisis rather than proper pay increases for tax and benefit purposes.

Liz Saville Roberts made the comments in the Commons today following confirmation from Mark Drakeford that the Welsh Government had offered a one-off payment as part of a package of measures put to trade unions in a letter on Friday.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak had earlier failed to deny suggestions the UK Government was considering a one-off payment to help NHS staff deal with the soaring cost of living but said any pay settlement would have to be affordable and not further increase inflation.

“Strikes by nurses and ambulance workers are a last resort for overworked staff, they fear that patient safety is suffering due to increased demand on staff shortages, and instead of proper pay increases, Labour Welsh government have responded by offering Welsh health service staff tokenistic one-off payments, and reportedly his Government is considering the same in England as well,” the MP for Dwyfor Meirionnydd said.

“Now, if this approach is taken, can the minister guarantee that one-off payments will be recognised as support with (the) cost-of-living crisis rather than proper pay increases and treated as such for tax and benefit purposes?”

Bitterly disappointing

Earlier today, UK Health Secretary Steve Barclay had held talks in London with unions representing NHS staff, who said the negotiations were “bitterly disappointing” and an “insult”.

An ally of Mr Barclay said the issue of a one-off payment was raised at the meeting by the unions, rather than the Health Secretary, who “listened to what he had to say and agreed to take it away”.

In response to Ms Saville Roberts, Mr Barclay reiterated “we have a process through the independent pay review body that looks at these issues in the round and balances what are the needs in terms of our NHS”.

He stressed his focus is on the NHS in England and “balancing what is the right level of funding for retention and recruitment against what are the wider issues of affordability for the economy as a whole”.

He went on: “But we are very keen to engage with the trade unions. We had a good discussion with them today. I’m pleased that they recognise that that made progress and I look forward to having further discussions with them.”

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Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
1 year ago

The light is barely on and there is seriously nobody at home…an early form of android with a wonky chip…

A pleasure as always Liz…

Last edited 1 year ago by Mab Meirion
G Horton-Jones
G Horton-Jones
1 year ago

Income tax kicks in at poverty creating level so that for many there is little to discourage a life on benefits.
The solution in Wales should be about letting those in employment take home
substantially more by a major overhaul of the current taxation system to a much more equitable norm.
Current pay demands in percentage terms seem watering but in reality are peanuts when you look at the current levels of pay and the reality of how much of any increase will be swallowed inflation and also in tax take

NOT Grayham Jones
NOT Grayham Jones
1 year ago

As Barclay told LSR this is nothing to do with Wales and she needs to be addressing Mark Drakesford- perhaps she hasnt grasped that Health is devolved.

Last edited 1 year ago by NOT Grayham Jones

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