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COVID-19: 1% pay rise for NHS staff 'the most' the government can afford, says minister Nadine Dorries

·1-min read

A 1% pay rise for NHS workers is "the most" the government can afford due to the economic cost of the COVID crisis, a health minister has told Sky News.

The government is facing a furious backlash after calling for healthcare staff in England to be restricted to a pay rise of 1%.

But Nadine Dorries said it "would be wrong to say a single person in the government does not appreciate the effort" of NHS staff, as she defended the government not recommending a larger pay increase.

"Of course, we recognise the sacrifice and the commitment and the vocation of nurses and all health workers over the past year," she said.

"We've all been touched by, or personally experienced, help by NHS workers.

"But I think it is important to note that the priority of the government has been about protecting people's livelihoods, about continuing the furlough scheme, about fighting the pandemic, and we've put huge effort into that.

"We did not want nurses to go unrecognised - or doctors - and no other public sector employee is receiving a pay rise, there has been a pay freeze.

"But the 1% offer is the most we think we can afford, which we have put forward to the pay review body."

Ms Dorries, a former nurse, admitted "everybody in an ideal world would love to see nurses paid far more".

But she stressed there had been "huge borrowing and cost to the government" due to the coronavirus pandemic.