Tory health minister Maria Caulfield suggested it would cost the government £700m to increase nurses' pay by one per cent. Such claims have since been debunked by BBC Reality Check.
On Thursday (15 December), Caulfield told the BBC: "There's two reasons why we can't. Firstly, we've got to find the money to pay for it – and for every one per cent increase, that's £700 million we have to find from somewhere."
She also reiterated her message on other outlets such as Sky News, following the latest talks between the UK Government and the Royal College of Nursing – which is calling for a 19.2 per cent pay rise that the Government has said is unaffordable.
"For every one per cent we agree for the nurses, or for anyone else in fact, that’s around £700 million that we have to find,"
"As a government there’s only three ways we can find that money: we either have to borrow it, and we know the impact of borrowing when governments can’t afford it, we saw that just a few weeks ago. You either have to put taxes up for patients and residents…"
It comes as nurses across England, Northern Ireland and Wales strike as the NHS face unprecedented levels of industrial action over pay.
Well now, Caulfield's claims have been debunked after the BBC's head of statistics, Robert Cuffe, suggested her comments don't add up.
\u201cBBC reality check has debunked Maria Caulfield(Health Minister) claim that it would cost \u00a3700m for every 1% increase in pay given to nurses.\n\n#BBCBreakfast\u201d
"It's a government figure, but it applies to a different thing. It applies to a much larger group of people," Cuffe says. "If you look at the NHS pay review report for all non-medical staff, if you gave them a one per cent pay rise, that would come to about £700 million."
Cuffe explained that while non-medical staff "does include nurses", it also factors in radiographers, physiotherapists, ambulance staff, porters, administrative assistants, managers and more.
"Once you go out that wide, then you're starting to get to those figures," he added.
Indy100 reached out to Maria Caulfield for comment.
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