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Boris Johnson says Britain should clap for bankers and won't promise pay rise for nurses

Mirror logo Mirror 30/06/2020 Mikey Smith

Boris Johnson says Britain should clap for bankers in the same way they do for NHS nurses.

And he wouldn't promise to give NHS staff a pay rise as part of his 'new deal' plan to recover from coronavirus.

The Prime Minister revealed his plan to build his way out of the crisis today in a speech in Dudley - promising to tear up planning regulations and invest £5bn in infrastructure projects.

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But despite hailing the speech as containing "a lot of government intervention" - he said: “My friends - I am not a communist.

"I believe it is also the job of government to create the conditions for free market enterprise."

Boris Johnson wearing a suit and tie © REUTERS He added: “And yes of course we clap for our NHS - but under this government we also applaud those who make our NHS possible - our innovators, our wealth creators, our capitalists, our financiers.

“In the end, it is their willingness to take risks with their own money that will be crucial for our future success.”

How countries are easing out of lockdown (Photos)

But asked by the Mirror if he'd consider a pay rise for public sector workers, Mr Johnson wouldn't commit to it.

Johnson did not rule out tax rises in order to fund the coronavirus recovery.

Asked about whether he would break his manifesto tax guarantee, he said: "I think you should really wait to see what the Chancellor has to say in the course of the next few weeks and months.

"But I remain absolutely determined to ensure that the tax burden in so far as we possibly can is reasonable and that we continue to be a dynamic, competitive, open market economy."

"Of course we'll be looking at the independent public sector pay review body, and seeing what they say.

"But I'm very proud, for instance, that under this government we've had a 12.5% increase for nurses alone since 2018."

In 2018 the government and the NHS staff council agreed a three year pay deal which saw pay for nurses increase annually in April between 2018/19 and 2020/21.

But the pay increase in the last two years wasn't enough to make up for the real terms pay cuts for NHS nurses since 2010.

And Mr Johnson did not rule out tax rises in order to fund the coronavirus recovery.

a group of people standing in front of a building © Getty Images

Asked about whether he would break his manifesto tax guarantee, he said: "I think you should really wait to see what the Chancellor has to say in the course of the next few weeks and months.

"But I remain absolutely determined to ensure that the tax burden in so far as we possibly can is reasonable and that we continue to be a dynamic, competitive, open market economy."

Mr Johnson said the Government intends to spend £5 billion "to accelerate infrastructure projects".

The announcements included:

  • £1.5 billion to be allocated this year to hospital maintenance;
  • More than £1 billion for a 10-year school rebuilding programme;
  • £100 million to be spent on road projects;
  • £900 million for "shovel-ready" local growth projects in England during 2020/21.

The Prime Minister acknowledged "it may seem a bit premature to make a speech now about Britain after Covid" given events in Leicester, where a local lockdown has been imposed.

But "we cannot continue simply to be prisoners of this crisis" and the country "needs to be ready for what may be coming".

"We're waiting as if between the flash of lightning and the thunderclap with our hearts in our mouths for the full economic reverberations to appear," he said.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak will set out a plan to support the economy through the first phase of the recovery next week, Mr Johnson said.

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Stay at home as much as possible to stop coronavirus spreading - here is the latest government guidance. If you think you have the virus, don't go to the GP or hospital, stay indoors and get advice online. Only call NHS 111 if you cannot cope with your symptoms at home; your condition gets worse; or your symptoms do not get better after seven days. In parts of Wales where 111 isn't available, call NHS Direct on 0845 46 47. In Scotland, anyone with symptoms is advised to self-isolate for seven days. In Northern Ireland, call your GP.


Video: PM 'determined to keep tax burden reasonable' (Sky News)

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