Nurses’ pay has fallen by 6% in real terms since the Tories entered Downing Street in 2010 – an average loss of some £2,440 – because pay-rises have been capped at a below-inflation maximum of 1%. They are projected to fall by 12% in total by 2020.
Today on the BBC’s Breakfast, Tory Chancellor Philip Hammond responded to the situation of a desperate, demoralised nurse who can’t afford a home or to start a family – by claiming nurses saw an average pay-rise last year of 3.3%:
Let’s be clear: nurses have not received anything like 3.3%. To try to create a soundbite, the Tories will be rolling overtime, performance pay and promotions and anything else they can think of into some notional income figure to try to justify this false claim – but their own words have given away the truth.
In July, the woeful Liz Truss tried to defend derisory public-sector pay-rises with similar misdirection:
Last year teachers’ pay went up by 3.3% [also false], more than half of nurses and other NHS workers saw a pay rise of over 3%
3.3% seems to be a favourite false figure for Tories. But on nurse pay, more than half receiving a ‘rise of over 3%’ – not that much over, or she would certainly have used a higher figure – will not equate to an average of 3.3% for all nurses unless massively more than half received it and/or they received massively more than 3%, which was not the case.
Yet again Hammond has revealed not only his remoteness from the real-life experience of ordinary people, but an extremely tenuous relationship with reality.
And this is not the first time. In May, during the General Election campaign, Hammond listened to another nurse telling of her desperation because of Tory-imposed cuts. Hammond’s response? Quote some meaningless stats:
The Tories are a disgrace. A dishonest, consciously cruel and utterly vile disgrace – but by talking such nonsense about things that huge numbers of people experience, they are cutting the ground from beneath their own smug feet.
And being rumbled by increasing numbers of people, in spite of the best efforts of their media allies.
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