Caroline Ansell MP

Christmas 2022 is the first since 2019 without Covid disruption – a cause of huge celebration.  It makes strike action particularly painful.  

I am concerned that staff at South East Coast Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust are taking strike action over pay and I have raised contingency planning with all partners.  

Thankfully nurses at East Sussex Healthcare NHS Trust, which runs the DGH, will not be on strike although they did narrowly ballot in favour of it.  I am so grateful for this decision.  

The pay rise offered was decided by the independent pay body the public sector unions previously demanded. The Government accepted those recommendations. Now unions demand the Government ignores them?   

I hope the unions reconsider their actions and reach a settlement with the NHS. The 19% their union wants at this point would cost £10 billion pounds.  

I know strike action will be a huge challenge for our local services over Christmas and people in Eastbourne and Willingdon are worried about it. I would, if I could, give nurses, doctors, teachers, police officers, firefighters and our armed services –  indeed all our key workers – big pay rises because they do vital work we all appreciate and need. 

But pay is part of a wider, more complex dynamic in our present situation and inflation is the common enemy across the world, it makes everyone poorer and hits the most vulnerable hardest.  Escalating pay rises would inevitably fuel inflation and costs and obliterate any increase in pay.  

The financial background to this round of pay increases is the country’s finances following unprecedented support during the pandemic, an estimated £400 billion which saved lives and livelihoods and businesses in our town and across the country.”