Health Minister Nadine Dorries says nurses will understand 1% pay rise

Nadine Dorries today claimed nurses will understand the proposed 1 per cent pay rise because it could help their partners continue to bring in a wage via the furlough scheme.

The health minister and former nurse said she would pay NHS professionals millions ‘if it was up to me’ amid a furious response to the controversial proposal.

She claimed that Downing Street has been forced to make ‘tough choices’ throughout the pandemic, including continuing the furlough scheme until September. 

Speaking to BBC Woman’s Hour, she said: ‘If I could quote a nurse manager of a vaccine centre that I spoke to on Saturday, this is what she said: “We have two children in our house, two of us, two wages coming in and one mortgage going out.”

‘”If I had to choose between my husband being furloughed until the Autumn and a pay rise, I would choose my husband being furloughed any day, because now we have the security that our mortgage can be paid”. 

‘And she also said: “I completely get it”.’

Nadine Dorries (pictured) claimed she would pay medical professionals millions 'if it was up to me' amid a furious response to the controversial proposal

Nadine Dorries (pictured) claimed she would pay medical professionals millions 'if it was up to me' amid a furious response to the controversial proposal

Nadine Dorries (pictured) claimed she would pay medical professionals millions ‘if it was up to me’ amid a furious response to the controversial proposal

The former nurse added that she thinks most nurses understand why the pay rise is smaller than hoped, adding: ‘They understand that is a very important decision we had to make and it was also an incredibly expensive decision to the public purse.’  

Ms Dorries said: ‘We all know the position the economy is in at the moment and we all want to see that economy recover because without a strong economy we can’t fund the NHS. 

‘What I would hope is that nurses will stick with us, and I’ll go back to my vaccine centre manager who told me ‘Nurses get it’. They actually get it.’ 

It comes as Boris Johnson yesterday hinted at a shift on NHS pay as he suggested nurses could be treated ‘exceptionally’.

Mr Johnson wriggled as he was berated by Labour’s Keir Starmer during a tetchy PMQs session, with the Labour leader comparing the proposed 1 per cent for health staff to the 40 per cent hike for ex-aide Dominic Cummings.

She claimed that Downing Street has been forced to make 'tough choices' throughout the pandemic, including to continue the furlough scheme until September

She claimed that Downing Street has been forced to make 'tough choices' throughout the pandemic, including to continue the furlough scheme until September

She claimed that Downing Street has been forced to make ‘tough choices’ throughout the pandemic, including to continue the furlough scheme until September

Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson

Keir Starmer

Keir Starmer

Boris Johnson wriggled as he was berated by Labour’s Keir Starmer during a tetchy PMQs session on Wednesday

Sir Keir demanded that MPs be given a vote on the ‘real-terms cut’. 

Unions have threatened strikes over the ‘insulting’ increase while Tories are restive.

Ministers have so far argued that the bump is all the country can afford with coronavirus sending national debt soaring towards £2.8trillion, and pointed out that the rest of the public sector is facing a freeze.

But the premier fuelled speculation of a shift on Wednesday by stressing that the pay review body will consider the evidence. 

‘Of course we will look at what the independent pay review body has to say exceptionally about the nursing profession for whom we particularly value,’ he told MPs.  

Sir Keir accused Mr Johnson of clapping for carers last year before choosing to ‘shut the door in their face at the first opportunity’ via the 1 per cent pay rise.

NHS workers staged protests over the pay move outside Downing Street at the weekend

NHS workers staged protests over the pay move outside Downing Street at the weekend

NHS workers staged protests over the pay move outside Downing Street at the weekend

The Labour leader told the Commons: ‘There are currently 40,000 nursing vacancies and 7,000 doctors vacancies. How on Earth does he think a pay cut will solve that?

‘Frankly, I’d take the Prime Minister a bit more seriously if he hadn’t spent £2.6million of taxpayers’ money on a Downing Street TV studio or £200,000 on new wallpaper for his flat. 

‘They say charity starts at home but I think the Prime Minister is taking it a bit too literally.’

But Mr Johnson denied that staff will be ‘hundreds of pounds worse off a year’ because of the Budget moves, and insisted the Conservatives are the ‘party of the NHS’.  

‘We’re increasing pay for nurses, we’re massively increasing our investment in the NHS,’ he said.

‘We’re steering a steady course, whereas he weaves and wobbles from one week to the next.’ 

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