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Four in 10 nurses living below the minimum income standard

New research, revealed on Channel 4’s Dispatches: ‘Who Deserves A Pay Rise?’ programme, has found that four in 10 nurses are living in households with earnings below the minimum income standard.

Data from NatCen, a research institute, found that 41% of nurses do not meet the income measure set by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, up from 23.3% in 2010.

It means that a greater number of nurses live below the minimum income standard than police officers (34%) and teachers (30%).

The Joseph Rowntree Foundation analyses data each year to set a minimum income standard – the amount that the public believe people need to achieve a socially acceptable living standard. The minimum income standard for this year was set at £17,900 per year before tax for a single person. Couples with two children needed to earn £20,400 each to meet that same standard.

Janet Davies, chief executive and general secretary of the Royal College of Nursing, claimed it was a timely ‘pre-Budget reminder’.

She said: ‘This is a timely pre-Budget reminder that the Government has driven down living standards with year after year of real-terms pay cuts, leaving more nursing staff falling behind the acceptable income standard than other public sector workers.

‘After telling the Commons that it has scrapped the cap on pay, the Government must put its money where its mouth is next month. The Budget must commit the funding to give nurses an above inflation pay award – anything less amounts to another pay cut.

‘The Chancellor cannot ask the NHS to make other cuts to cover pay rises – it must be given new funding to cover the cost.’