Matt Hancock said now isn't 'the right time' to discuss giving nurses a pay rise and absolutely no one agrees

Health Secretary Matt Hancock thinks a global pandemic isn't the right time to discuss a pay rise for nurses.

When asked on The Andrew Marr Show whether nurses deserve to be paid more, Hancock said:

I'm very sympathetic to that argument but now is not the moment to enter into a pay negotiation. Now is the moment for everybody to be doing their very best.

The current starting salary for nurses is £24,900.

The cap on pay rises for NHS workers was lifted in 2018 with the promise of a 6.5 per cent rise over three years.

Matt Hancock and Boris Johnson were amongst those who voted against lifting the cap in 2017 which meant public sector workers like nurses couldn't expect more than a 1 per cent pay rise per year.

People aren't happy with the Health Secretary's comment, pointing out that clapping for NHS workers whilst they risk their lives in the fight against coronavirus isn't enough.

Hancock has previously faced criticism for saying that four NHS doctors "and some nurses" have died of Covid-19.

When asked by Andrew Marr if he knows how many nurses have died of the virus, he responded that "the latest figure is that three have died, and it's terribly sad".

The government's handling of the coronavirus crisis was also criticised by Sir Keir Starmer, who told Marr:

We were slow in testing. The equipment that's needed on the front line isn't there.

He also criticised the government's initial herd immunity strategy, saying it was "probably wrong" before acknowledging that the Health Secretary now denies it was ever part of the plan.

According to Hancock, a time will come to "debate" things like a pay rise for nurses.

Whether that means nurses can hope for more than just a round of applause for caring for us throughout this crisis remains to be seen.

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