Advertisement - Content continues below
Employment

National insurance hike will leave NHS workers funding their own pay rise

Healthcare campaigners have pointed out that Boris Johnson’s tax increase to fund the NHS will eat into the pay rise promised to its workers.

The planned national insurance rise will eat into the pay increase promised to NHS workers – and mean they are effectively funding it themselves.

Ministers plan to raise national insurance contributions by 1.25 percentage points in April to help the NHS recover from the pandemic, with vague plans to roll out social care reforms too in later years.

But the rise – which breaks Tory manifesto pledges – will cut into the pay boost for the health service’s nurses, care staff and paramedics by hundreds of pounds.

The Westminster government sparked anger earlier in the year for its paltry pay offering to NHS workers in England and Wales. In January, ministers said a rise of just one per cent would be affordable before upping their promise to three per cent, which would result in a real-terms cut once inflation is taken into account.

Industry bodies have overwhelmingly rejected the offer, including the Royal College of Nursing, which previously called for a 12.5 per cent pay increase.

In Holyrood, the Scottish government said it would increase healthcare pay by four per cent.

Advertisement - Content continues below
Advertisement - Content continues below
Article continues below

“There are billionaires who have increased their profits during this pandemic,” said Anthony Johnson, lead organiser for grassroots group Nurses United UK. “They’ve done so by closing down our retail stores and used a global pandemic to make a profit off of our misery.

“What a surprise that this government, funded by those billionaires, is deciding to invest in more privatisation and is making frontline NHS workers and the rest of us pay for it.

“This is not a recipe for more staff, they need restorative pay rises to bring our NHS back to safety, not more pay cuts.”

For an NHS worker in Scotland earning £26,104, the increase in national insurance payments will nullify 20.6 per cent of their four per cent pay rise.

A frontline NHS nurse in England could pay nearly £300 in a year’s extra contributions, even after the real-terms pay cut and alongside soaring living costs.

Subscribe to The Big Issue

From just £3 per week

Take a print or digital subscription to The Big Issue and provide a critical lifeline to our work. With each subscription we invest every penny back into supporting the network of sellers across the UK. A subscription also means you'll never miss the weekly editions of an award-winning publication, with each issue featuring the leading voices on life, culture, politics and social activism.

Now MSPs are calling on central government to scrap the “regressive” national insurance rise.

“The Tory plans to hike national insurance will take a significant chunk of that money out of the pockets of hard-working nurses and use it to pay for England’s social care problem, demonstrating how regressive their national insurance increase is for those on lower incomes,” said Emma Harper, MSP for South Scotland.

Between the national insurance rise and plans to cut universal credit by £20 per week at the end of this month, the Conservatives have “clearly demonstrated they will build the recovery on the backs of those who can least afford it,” she added.

Ian Blackford, the SNP leader in Westminster, confronted Boris Johnson at Prime Minister’s Questions about how the rise would affect healthcare staff.

“Actually, what’s happening is that we’re funding the NHS across the whole of the UK – including in Scotland – I’m proud to say with record sums,” Johnson said.

The Big Issue Jobs

Creating opportunities for even more people.

Stay up-to-date with new job opportunities and get expert tips on finding a job in a challenging landscape.

“We’ve ensured that nurses have had access to a training bursary worth £5,000, a further bursary for £3,000 for childcare costs. That is before we put up pay by three per cent.

“That is only possible because of the package that we’re putting forward for health and social care,” he added.

Advertisement - Content continues below

Support us today

Over the last 30 years, your contributions have been vital in providing opportunities for those facing poverty by giving them a hand up, not a hand out. Support us to help thousands more. Buy a copy from your local vendor, donate or subscribe online today.

Recommended for you

Read All
Charities call for multifaceted approach to help ex-offenders into work
Employment

Charities call for multifaceted approach to help ex-offenders into work

What is fire and rehire? How can you fight against it?
Employment

What is fire and rehire? How can you fight against it?

Fire and rehire: Government blocks bill to protect workers
Employment

Fire and rehire: Government blocks bill to protect workers

Zero hour contracts: Know your rights
Employment

Zero hour contracts: Know your rights

Most Popular

Read All
'What kidnappers do' - DWP forcing universal credit claimants to pose for photo with daily paper
1.

'What kidnappers do' - DWP forcing universal credit claimants to pose for photo with daily paper

The problems with BT's £50m 888 app to protect women on their way home
2.

The problems with BT's £50m 888 app to protect women on their way home

Why England's rivers are so polluted and will be for years to come
3.

Why England's rivers are so polluted and will be for years to come

Universal credit: What is it and why does the £20 cut matter?
4.

Universal credit: What is it and why does the £20 cut matter?