Royal College of Nursing’s “extraordinary” demands for a 12.5% pay increase simply “not feasible”, says IEA expert


Energy and Environment

Victoria Hewson quoted in The Sun

Responding to calls from the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) for a 12.5% pay increase, Professor Len Shackleton, Editorial and Research Fellow at free market think tank the Institute of Economic Affairs, said:

“It is possible to sympathise with the nurses without endorsing the Royal College of Nursing’s extraordinary demands for a 12.5% pay increase, the sort of figure last seen in the 1970s.

“What we need is an end to this sort of across-the-board increase to NHS pay, and more targeted pay increases for those who have contributed most in the last year. 

“Even with the best will in the world, pay increases of the magnitude proposed by the RCN are not feasible even for front-line workers in a situation where we are faced with a huge debt burden and greatly increased future taxes .

“Moreover, although those who have been ill may be hugely grateful for the care of nurses and doctors, all of us have reason to be grateful to energy, water and sewage workers, police, paramedics, firefighters, farmers, supermarket workers, delivery drivers and ​many others, who have all enabled us to maintain a civilised way of life in very difficult conditions.

“They can’t all be paid 12.5% increases unless we want to go back to a world of double-digit inflation, which took us far too long to exit the last time round.”  


Notes to editors

For media enquiries, please contact Emily Carver on 07715 942 731 or [email protected].

IEA spokespeople are available for further comment and interview.

The mission of the Institute of Economic Affairs is to improve understanding of the fundamental institutions of a free society by analysing and expounding the role of markets in solving economic and social problems. The IEA is a registered educational charity and independent of all political parties.


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