Local Plaid Cymru politicians have reiterated calls for the Welsh Government to deliver a better pay offer to NHS nurses in Pembrokeshire – utilising existing reserves and unallocated funding.
Information obtained by the party from the Finance Minister proves that the Welsh Government has sufficient money to offer an 8% pay increase to nurses – more than 3% above what is currently on the table.
The current pay offer from the Welsh government provides around 4.8% uplift on average for NHS staff. To arrive at an 8% initial offer would require an extra £176m in the current financial year.
Plaid Cymru says that the money could come from a combination of the £152.3m of currently unallocated funding in the Welsh Government’s budget, a draw down from the Wales Reserve in addition to any projected under-spends in current departmental budgets.
Plaid Cymru have been critical of the Welsh Government’s current offer on the table – a one-off payment to nurses of an unspecified amount – which will do nothing to improve the long-term sustainability of the profession, nor will it help attract new entrants.
The impact on next year’s budget of an increased pay offer could be funded through a combination of reduced reliance on private sector agency staff and progressive use of the Welsh Government’s income tax powers.
These latest calls follow strikes by NHS nursing staff across Pembrokeshire and the whole of Wales in December, protesting against poor wages and chronic staff shortages.
The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) has recently indicated it’s “prepared to be real about that economic climate” and is willing to negotiate on pay.
Cefin Campbell, Plaid Cymru Member of the Senedd for Mid & West Wales said: “Time and time again, Plaid Cymru have called on the Welsh Government to use all the levers at their disposal – from taxation, reserves to reallocation – to secure our hardworking NHS nurses and staff in Pembrokeshire and Carmarthenshire get the pay rise they deserve and so desperately need.
“These latest findings regarding the sizeable unallocated funding in the Welsh Government’s budget shows that a fairer pay award is not only essential, it’s also possible. Whilst the Tories have starved Wales' budgets for over a decade, it’s Labour who have been responsible for running the NHS in Wales for the last 25 years.
“They must take responsibility and deliver a fairer pay offer to our nurses and NHS staff.”