Ash Sarkar perfectly sums up Tory hypocrisy on public sector pay

She made the comments on the most recent episode of BBC Question Time

A still of Ash Sarkar appearing on BBC Question

Novara Media’s Ash Sarkar appeared on BBC Question Time last night. In a heated exchange on the crisis facing the NHS and the ongoing industrial action in the health service, she clearly summed up the Tories’ attitude and hypocrisy when it comes to public sector pay.

In her contribution, Sarkar highlighted the scale of real terms pay cuts NHS doctors have faced. She said, “There’s one thing which I think we really need to talk about – and that is how you keep staff, the staff that you’ve got. Between 2010 and 2020, the real terms pay of doctors on average fell by around 25 per cent. That is a huge devaluing of doctors’ work. Do you think that doctors’ work became 25 per cent less useful during that time? No – you just decided to start paying them worse comparative to what they’d been paid before and forcing them to work in worse conditions.”

Sarkar went on to contrast the government’s approach to public sector pay and its approach to pay and bonuses in the financial sector. She said, “And when it came to your party’s mates in the city – you said, well in order to get the best talent, we’ve got to lift the cap on bankers’ bonuses, pay’s got to be competitive. But when it comes to things like the NHS or the education sector, you’re effectively saying to all these public sector workers: ‘get poorer and be happy about it’. Now why should any of them accept that?”

The NHS is currently being hit with a wave of strikes in disputes over pay and conditions. Nurses will be on strike on January 18 and 19. Ambulance workers will be on strike on January 23. Junior doctors are being balloted for strike action which may take place in March.

Next time you see a Tory MP claiming these NHS staff have to accept real terms pay cuts, remember their government takes a very different approach when it comes to bankers.

Chris Jarvis is head of strategy and development at Left Foot Forward

Image credit: BBC Screengrab

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