‘NI Executive must address issue of regional pay’ – Ritchie

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Wednesday, June 13th, 2012
SDLP South Down MP Margaret Ritchie has questioned the Secretary of State for Health, Andrew Lansley in the House of Commons on proposals to introduce regional pay for staff within the NHS in Northern Ireland, which he now says is a matter for the Northern Ireland Executive. Ms Ritchie has welcomed the Health Secretary’s comments given that proposals regarding regional pay were due to be implemented in Northern Ireland by the Treasury. Speaking to Newry Times, she said: “Any plans to introduce regional pay for staff within the NHS are now, following the Ministers response, clearly a matter for the Northern Irish Executive. Given the fact that £450 billion will be taken out of the pockets of low income families in Northern Ireland as a result of the implementation of welfare reform it is imperative that the Northern Ireland Executive act to ensure a fair outcome when it comes to the issue of regional pay.” “Northern Ireland would arguably be one of the worst affected areas if there was a move towards locally-set pay, because private sector wages in the area lag behind the public sector. The region also has a high proportion of people employed in the public sector.” She added, “I will be seeking assurances from the Executive that in light of the precarious financial position of many families in Northern Ireland that there must be no plans to introduce lower pay for staff within the NHS as this would have further detrimental impacts on the local economy.”
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