I’m compelled to write to you in protest at the appallingly paltry pay rise of just 1% to NHS staff.
After all the hard work they’ve been asked to do during the pandemic – which let us note, is not yet over – after all the rhetoric the government has deployed to praise their efforts, and after all the lives they have saved often at the expense of their own health, this is a grotesque insult.
The Government called on us to clap for them and reminded us frequently how critical their work is. But when it comes to practical help, even a one-off thank-you payment, they get a pay rise which is close to invisible. As one nurse commented, it wouldn’t even pay for her car parking charges.
The defence of this decision is that this is all we can afford. Yet we have spent billions – and mis-spent millions on systems that don’t work, with Track and Trace being only the most prominent example, and with much of this money having gone to Tory party donors.
Rather, those who could afford to shoulder the burden of the cost to the economy of the pandemic seem to get away scot-free. And the ultra-rich, with wealth beyond the imagination of ordinary people, pay no more. Their personal tax allowances will even go up. The banks, which could withstand a small Robin Hood tax on each transaction, pay no more. And rather than close tax loopholes such as offshore tax havens, the Government is setting up freeports, designed, astonishly, to be onshore tax havens.
So the public purse can afford to give this money away to the rich, but not to those who have worked their fingers to the bone saving our lives. To say I’m disgusted hardly describes it.
You are, I understand, a Government Whip. You also say you were a nurse. You therefore are in a good position to make my feelings and, I have no doubt, those of thousands of others, known in the highest of circles.
Please do so. I’d be glad to hear what reception you get.