‘Billions for bankers, nothing for nurses’: Health authorities sue Kwasi Kwarteng for scrapping City bonus limit as NHS strikes loom over wage rule
- Royal College of Nursing accused chancellor of having his ‘priorities wrong’
- It now urges 465,000 members across the UK to vote in favor of strike action
- Mr. Kwarteng lifts the cap on bonuses more than double the banker’s salary
Health authorities have accused Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng of getting his priorities wrong after lifting a cap on banker’s bonuses in his first mini-budget.
The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) said the government was giving ‘billions to bankers and nothing to nurses’ amid a row over NHS payments.
It is now urging its 465,000 members in the UK to vote in favor of strike action when it opens the ballot next month.
Nurses have been given a 4 percent pay rise, but unions have been calling for a pay rise for months that exceeds inflation, which is currently 10 percent.
RCN Secretary General Pat Cullen said: ‘Nursing will be stunned by the decision to prioritize wealthy bankers over NHS and social care staff, some of whom use food banks and live on a financial edge.’
In his ‘Emergency Budget’ in the House of Commons today, Mr Kwarteng announced that the cap on bonuses to double a banker’s base salary will be lifted.
It was imposed by the EU in 2014 to discourage the kind of profit-hunting that critics say contributed to the 2008 financial crash.
But Mr Kwarteng, who said he was “unashamed” looking for ways to boost the growth of the UK economy, believes the move will bring the best talent to the city.
Pat Cullen (pictured left), chief executive of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN), said Kwasi Kwarteng (right) handed over “billions to bankers and nothing to nurses” after lifting a cap that capped bonuses to cover the base salary of a banker to double
Ahead of today’s announcement, the Royal College of Midwives announced on Thursday that it would be voting union action among its members.
dr. Suzanne Tyler, Executive Director of the RCM, said: “Industrial action is always the very last resort for midwives and maternity wards.
“They now clearly see no alternative but to get a fair and just reward from their governments.”
Abolishing the banker’s bonus was launched when Boris Johnson was prime minister, before being scrapped over optics fears amid a cost of living crisis.
But Mr Kwarteng said it had only pushed up salaries and hampered London’s ability to compete with Paris, Frankfurt and New York.
When he announced the removal today, he said the current rules are driving the best talent out of town.
But Labor Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves said the move was part of “a plan to reward the already wealthy … a return to the trickle of the past.”
Her comments were echoed by Pat Cullen, the nation’s top nurse. “This statement gave billions to bankers and nothing to nurses,” she said.
What clearer sign could there be of a government with the wrong priorities.
“Ministers have taken advantage of the goodwill of the nursing staff for far too long and we urge our members to vote in favor of the strike in our vote on 6 October.”
The NHS’s pay review bodies have said the basic salary for nurses should increase by 4 percent, while the salary of doctors and dentists should be increased by 4.5 percent.
But health authorities say soaring inflation means it means a wage cut in real terms and that doctors are worse off.
The BMA chairman has warned that strikes are ‘inevitable’, which could see 160,000 senior doctors leave.
Doctors in training have also told ministers they will vote on industrial action if their ‘unacceptable’ 2 percent wage offer is not increased.