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Public 'overwhelmingly' support 1% pay rise

A new poll shows that four out of five members of the public would support the 1% pay award recommended for NHS staff. 

There is widespread support in every region of England for a 1% pay rise for NHS staff. The North West (86%), West Midlands (84%), London (84%) and the South West (84%) lead the way.

The public support for a pay increase is overwhelming across the political spectrum. The poll found that four-fifths of those who intend to vote Conservative (80%) and slightly more for Labour (87%) say they would support the recommended pay award. Nine in every ten (90%) Liberal Democrat supporters were in favour, and there is very strong support among those who intend to vote UKIP, with four-fifths (84%) of that party's supporters backing it.

There has been a significant jump in support in those aged 18-24, the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) commissioned poll shows. This is up from 56% in August to 74% in October. This is mirrored in a rise in support amongst people working in the private sector, with 81% of those supporting the pay award, an increase from 76% in the previous poll.

The poll follows strike action and industrial action by unions representative bodies because of the government's decision not to implement a 1% pay increase for all staff as recommended by the Independent Pay Review Body. 

Cathy Warwick, chief executive of the Royal College of Midwives, said: “Our members will be heartened to see these figures and the level of public support for them. The public know what the politicians seem unaware of; that investing in staff is investing in the NHS.

“People also know how dedicated and hard working midwives and other NHS staff are. They also know that all NHS staff are asking for is a very modest 1% pay award. Midwives are not asking for banker-style bonuses. This 1% would still see their pay lagging significantly behind the rising cost of living. This also comes on the back of two years of pay freezes and way below inflation pay wards. 

“The public are backing this and a large majority of MPs across all parties are backing this. More industrial action is planned but it can be avoided. I repeat my appeal to the government to come back to the negotiating table to discuss this with us.”