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Chancellor 'misses opportunity' to support nurses and midwives say unions

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Nurses have had pay cuts for many years Nurses have had pay cuts for many years and are struggling to make ends meet

The Autumn budget statement has received backlash from nursing and healthcare unions for failing to tackle the health and social care crisis in the NHS.

Philip Hammond, delivered his first statement as Chancellor of the Exchequer on 23 November, laying out his financial plans in a post-Brexit economy. However, Mr Hammond did not set out any new plans for health and social care instead focusing on housing investment and tax credits. He reiterated during his speech that an extra £10 billion would be allocated annually to the NHS budget by the year 2020-21, but there was no mention of the NHS, social care or mental health in the budget document.

Janet Davies, chief executive and general secretary of the Royal College of Nursing, said that the budget was an 'opportunity to alleviate [the nursing workforce crisis], and the Chancellor has chosen not to take it'.

“Nursing staff have endured reductions in their standard of living since 2010, with a 14% real terms cut in what they take home - despite mounting demands on them and the urgent need for more staff. By scrapping funding for student nurse training at a time when many nurses are due to retire and there are huge uncertainties around Brexit, there is a real risk of creating a perfect storm which the profession cannot weather,' she added.

Richard Murray, the director of policy at the King's Fund, said that the absence of new money means that health and social care pressures will continue to grow. 'This will impact on some of the most vulnerable people in society, and so goes against the government’s commitment to creating a country that works for everyone.'

The Chancellor did commit to raising the minimum wage from £7.20 to £7.50 by April 2017, which was welcomed by Mr Murray.

Unison general secrtary David Prentis, said that 'scrimping on social care was is a huge false economy'.

'Older people are often stranded in hospitals, unable to go home, using beds needed by other patients. This turns up the heat on our already overstretched NHS, which has also been forgotten about today.'

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