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Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has indicated that he will urge the chancellor to increase the pay of heroic public sector staff following recent events.
Hunt took to the stage at Confed17 to acknowledge and praise the NHS, its staff and its leaders for their hard work following recent terror attacks and the Grenfell Tower fire incident.
In referring to the case made by nurses for an end to the pay cap, he said he had ‘a great deal of sympathy’. The cap means public sector staff rises are limited to one per cent a year until 2019. Both Labour and the Liberal Democrats promised to discard this in their election manifestos, but the Conservatives have resisted demands pointing out every one per cent pay rise in the NHS costs £500m annually.
Hunt has indicated that the government is prepared to rethink its approach. He said he had a ‘great deal of sympathy for the case that has been made on pay’ due to the ‘enormous amount of goodwill and time given free of charge’ by staff.
He said: “I’ve had a very constructive letter from Janet Davies from the Royal College of Nursing. I will be meeting with her and will make sure the conversation is reflected back to the chancellor before we make that decision.”
He also acknowledged the ‘remarkable’ work of the emergency services following the Grenfell Tower incident, saying: “I had the privilege of seeing first hand what that response was. We had operating theatres being opened up in the middle of the night, we had doctors cycling into work at 02:00 to report for duty, we had the extraordinary work of the paramedics, some of them running into live gunfire thinking they were being targeted but not stopping.”