Thank you for contacting me about the proposed pay rise for MPs.
MPs' pay is linked to the settlement of Civil Service pay and is negotiated independently. In the case of MPs' salaries, the responsible body is The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority. All civil services pay rises, and therefore those for MPs, start in April every year and in line with annual pay rises.
As for what I do with any potential pay rise; I wouldn't dream of telling anyone else how they should spend their salary or personal income. In the same way I wouldn't expect anyone else to tell me how to spend my income. I will say, however, that I contribute significant amounts of my total income already to causes that I choose to.
Your assertion that NHS workers 'are not getting a pay rise at all' is simply wrong. A deal was agreed in 2018 ensuring a 6.5 per cent pay rise for over one million NHS workers on Agenda for Change contracts over three years, with the starting salary for a newly qualified nurse increased by more than 12 per cent by the end of the AfC time period and all nurses receiving pay increases of at least 6.5 per cent and paramedics receiving up to 11 per cent. Doctors and dentists are also receiving pay rises but the highest proportionate rises are going to those on the lowest pay: the lowest NHS starting salary has increased year on year from £15,404 to £18,005 in 2020/2021. Many nurses and healthcare assistants are enjoying pay increases of at least 2.5 per cent.
Ministers set aside £800 million to support the deal for 2018/19, and the Government’s long term funding settlement for the NHS, which will provide increased funding of £33.9 billion per year by 2023/24, is funding the pay rise over the remaining two years.
On your charge that children have been 'left to go hungry this winter', anyone following the debate will see that as the need has changed during the pandemic, so too has the support. At the start of the pandemic, key benefits were boosted by over £1,000 per year for 12 months, part of a £9.3bn increase to the welfare safety net. Councils were also given £63m to help those families most in need, including supplying food if that is appropriate. A further £170m has been provided for councils via the COVID Winter Grant Scheme. The Scheme provides further funding to councils in England, with at least 80 per cent earmarked to support with food and bills, and will cover the period to the end of March 2021. Local Authorities will receive the funding at the beginning of December 2020.
In addition, the Holiday Activities and Food programme, which has provided healthy food and enriching activities to disadvantaged children since 2018, will be expanded across England next year. It will cover Easter, summer and Christmas in 2021, and cost up to £220m.
Thank you again for taking the time to write to me.
Craig Whittaker MP