To heat or to eat: that is the question looming for many nurses
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To heat or to eat: that is the question looming for many nurses

Nurses are up to £3,600 a year worse off as inflation soars to a 30-year high of 4.8% and wages fail to keep pace, analysis by Nursing Standard shows.

Nursing Standard. 37, 3, 7-7. doi: 10.7748/ns.37.3.7.s5

Published: 02 March 2022

Rising inflation, energy bills and food prices mean that nurses at the top of Band 6 are losing out on £3,641 in real terms, when comparing salaries from 2010 and 2021. And Band 5 starters earning £25,655 are around £772 a year worse off when comparing 2010 salaries.

The TUC claimed a lack of recognition by the government of the impact of inflation is a ‘hammer blow to morale’.

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: ‘Millions of key workers on the front line of the pandemic face another year of wages gloom. Ministers cannot abandon families during this cost-of-living crisis.’

TUC analysis of public sector wages published by the Office for National Statistics shows median pay fell by 2.3% in real terms in November – the equivalent of £60 a month. But average domestic energy bills are to increase by £693 – or £708 for those on prepayment meters – after Ofgem raised the energy price cap.

The government has recommended a 3% pay rise for nurses in 2022-23, which the RCN said will leave pay falling ‘even further behind inflation’.

The soaring cost of living is leaving some nurses choosing between ‘heating and eating’, according to Sylvia Simpson, chief executive of charity Money Buddies.

The government’s £9.1 billion Energy Bills Rebate will give 28 million UK households a £200 discount on their bills, spread over five years. People in England’s council tax bands A to D will also receive a £150 rebate.

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