Plaid Cymru has urged the Labour Welsh Government to support its amendment to the Welsh draft budget to give healthcare staff an 8% pay rise – the first real terms pay increase in over decade.
The Welsh Government’s Draft Budget for 2023-24 will be debated today (Tuesday 7 February 2023).
Plaid Cymru’s amendment to the budget calls on the Welsh Government to raise additional revenue by varying the rate of tax to give both health and care workers a fairer pay offer as part of a longer-term investment in the service.
After denying there was any money, the Welsh Government on Friday confirmed a “revised pay offer” for NHS staff of an additional 3%, of which 1.5% is consolidated.
Plaid Cymru Leader Adam Price said the 1.5% increase was a “sticking plaster” and would do “nothing” to address an NHS that is “understaffed” and a care system that is “underfunded”.
Mr Price said that Plaid Cymru’s plan would generate an extra £317 million to offer NHS workers an 8% pay rise – the first real terms pay increase in over a decade – to help tackle staffing shortages and provide care workers with £12 an hour as a minimum.
The Plaid Cymru Leader also urged the Labour government to back the party’s calls for Wales to set its own tax bands to create a “fairer taxation system”.
Plaid Cymru Leader Adam Price MS said,
“Public services – cut. Waiting times – up. Families are struggling to put food on the table while local businesses are going bust.
“This is the direct result of thirteen years of Tory cuts and twenty-five years of Labour failure provide real and radical solutions to the challenges facing our communities.
“Plaid Cymru has shown a way forward. Using the tax powers we have here in Wales, we could generate an extra £317 million to offer NHS workers an 8% pay rise – the first real terms pay increase in over a decade – to help tackle staffing shortages and provide care workers with £12 an hour as a minimum.
“The offer of 1.5% currently on the table by Labour is nothing but a sticking plaster for a gaping wound. It will do nothing to address a health service that is understaffed, a care system that is underfunded and a workforce in both that is overworked and undervalued. Only Plaid Cymru has presented a credible and costed plan to turn things around to heal the crisis in the NHS and our social care system.
“Where Plaid Cymru leads, Labour follows – eventually. We urge them to follow us now, without delay and support our amendment to the Budget. And, if they truly believe in a fair taxation system, they will back us in demanding the powers to set our own tax bands just like Scotland, rather than be ruled by Westminster.”