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News Archive > General > NHS workers ‘feel betrayed’ by MP’s vote to keep pay cap

NHS workers ‘feel betrayed’ by MP’s vote to keep pay cap

By Adele Moore 5th July 2017

NHS workers ‘feel betrayed’ by MP’s vote to keep pay cap
SPEAKING OUT: Rik Evans, right

A ST AUSTELL professional at the frontline of NHS health care says public sector workers feel a sense of ‘absolute betrayal’ after St Austell’s MP Steve Double voted to keep a cap on their pay.

The man, who asked to remain anonymous, said people are already leaving the health service because of a ruthless programme of cuts.

He spoke after Conservative MP for St Austell and Newquay, Mr Double, voted against a Labour amendment to the Queen’s Speech, which called for an end to the public sector pay cap.

The MP later said he would like to see an end to the cap imposed on nurses, ambulance drivers, firefighters and public servants but that this vote was not the ‘right time’.

The health source said: “Mr Double had an opportunity to speak out for public sector professionals’ rights in the recent vote on the issue. He voted for the pay freeze to continue.

“The pay cap is part of a wider programme of austerity which has been demonstrated to have failed at a national level.

“Mr Double is simply toeing the party line and sticking to a failing political agenda which is targeting the very people all of us (including Mr Double) turn to for help in their hour of need. This is an example of political adherence above personal conscience.

“As public services the wider view is one of absolute betrayal.

“Morale in the NHS is at an all-time low. Nursing recruitment is down 50 per cent in the south west. Retention is poor and morale is low due to massive pressure on services at a time of ever-increasing demand due to the systematic and deliberate erosion of our services. We are faced with the evidence of this on a daily basis.

“Due to the fact that public sector wages are on average 15 per cent less overall in real terms than they were in 2007, people at all levels are feeling the pinch. It is an unsustainable situation which reflects the Government’s complete lack of respect for the public services.”

His sentiments were echoed by Rik Evans, a former board member of the Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust (RCHT) and former non-executive member of Central Cornwall Primary Care Trust.

He added: “Health staff have faced pay caps for years but unfortunately there isn’t a cap on food prices, or children’s school trips - these things continue.

“After Grenfell, we had politicians saying how wonderful the accident and emergency departments and fire brigade are but they don’t think they are so wonderful they will pay them more.”

Also commenting was Fred Jerome, area organiser for Unison, which represents 7,000 public servants in Cornwall, including staff at councils, care services, NHS and police support staff. He said: “It is creating a crisis.

“Lots of MPs made comments about the pay cap to be lifted but then voted to keep it. People have seen their wages fall in real terms every year for seven or eight years. They are faced with either cutting back or leaving.

“Morale is low and getting lower. It is harder and harder for people. Their work is getting harder because there are fewer new jobs and they are struggling to fill existing posts.”

Speaking after the vote, Steve Double said: “The Queen’s Speech is the first act of a new Government. If it does not get passed it would have risked Jeremy Corbyn in Number 10 or another election.

“The results of the recent General Election, with the Conservatives winning substantially more seats than every other party, shows the public do not want this.

“Any decision on a potential removal of the public sector pay caps will need to be thoroughly costed as part of an overall Budget package, which would occur as part of the annual Budget speech.

“Of course I would like to be able to see an end to the pay caps but this decision needs to be taken at the right time.

“Labour’s amendment was just another example of their political posturing, when in fact a review of the pay cap is already in place with decisions to be made on it in due course.”

Steve Double was one of 323 MPs who voted to keep a cap on public sector pay. The vote saw all 10 DUP MPs joining 313 Conservatives to defeat the amendment by just 14 votes.

By Adele Moore 5th July 2017

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