Thank you for contacting me about recognising key workers.
I hope my response below demonstrates that this Government does appreciate those who have kept people safe and ensured vital services could continue during this ghastly coronavirus outbreak. I hope and believe that the Government will continue to keep things under review and offer further support or help if/as appropriate.
As we all know, NHS staff, in particular, have played an integral part in the national effort to combat coronavirus, and I thank them for the absolutely terrific work that they are doing. The Government is committed to supporting all NHS staff now and into the future.
As well as the 2.8% pay rise seen for doctors and dentists, the Government has announced and is enacting a 6.5% pay rise for nurses over the next three years. The starting salary for newly qualified nurses has also increased by more than 12%, and the Government has introduced a nurses' bursary which will provide at least £5,000 of additional support to nursing students. I understand that the NHS Pay Review Body, covering all Action for Change (AfC) staff, will soon make recommendations for next year’s pay awards.
On top of this, almost 900,000 public sectors workers received above-inflation pay rises this year. This included a 3.1% pay rise for teachers, a 2.5% increase for police and prison officers and a 2% increase for members of the armed forces. The Government also ended the across-the-board 1% cap on public sector pay rises in 2017 and so for many this is the third successive year of pay rises.
I understand your point about recognising key workers across the board. Workers such as delivery drivers, supermarket assistants and many of those working in the social care sector work for private companies where the Government does not control what they are paid. However, you will be pleased to know that Ministers are raising the National Living Wage (NLW) to £8.91, which they predict will improve pay for two million people, including some of those in the categories above. A full-time worker on the NLW will have their pay increased by £345 next year, totalling a £4,000 rise in pay since the policy was first introduced in 2016.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me about these important matters and I agree that our whole country should be grateful to our key workers for all they have done for us throughout the pandemic.
With best wishes.
Jonathan Lord MP
Member of Parliament for Woking