Politics latest: Nursing union to reveal pay deal ballot result - as junior doctors' strike enters final day (2023)

Key points
  • Nurses and NHS workers to reveal if they will accept pay offers
  • Junior doctors' strike enters final full day
  • Rob Powell:Nurses rejecting pay offer would be 'significant blow' for government
  • Adam Boulton:Forget The Terminator - when it comes to Arnie's hit films, Johnson should worry about Total Recall
  • Live reporting by Tim Baker


Nurses rejecting pay offer would be 'significant blow' for government

As political correspondent Rob Powell explains in the video below, there are reports this morning the Royal College of Nursing will reject the pay offer put to them by the government.

This would be a big hit to the government, as they have been using their success - so far - in negotiating with unions as a way to corral other sectors into talks.

Watch Rob's full analysis here...


Forget The Terminator - when it comes to Arnie's hit films, Johnson should worry about Total Recall

By Adam Boulton, Sky News commentator

Boris Johnson quoted Arnold Schwarzenegger in the movie Terminator 2: Judgment Day in his final address to the Commons as prime minister.

"'Hasta la vista, Baby' - thank you", he signed off to MPs last July.

The quotation, literally "until the view" in Spanish, is usually taken to mean "until we meet again" - a hope which Johnson wholeheartedly embraces. He makes no secret that he would like, and feels he deserves, another go in Number 10 Downing Street. Citing Schwarzenegger conjured up his other catchphrase: "I'll be back."

At the moment though, Mr Johnson should be more pre-occupied with another of Arnie's greatest hits: Total Recall. Recall, in the sense that parliament meant it in the Recall of MPs Act 2015, may well be about to cut short his time as a member of parliament. For now, at least.

The Act was passed in the wake of the expenses scandal, when it proved impossible to remove members from parliament, even after they were sent to prison. The recall process has proved a quietly efficient way of dealing with wrongdoers, although not all of them have paid the ultimate price of losing their seats.

Read Adam's full piece below....


Junior doctors' strike enters final full day

Young medics and the British Medical Association walked out on Tuesday at 7am, and are now entering their final full day of industrial action.

They will return to wards at 7am on Saturday, after a four-day strike which is expected to have seen hundreds of thousands of appointments cancelled.

The group is calling for "pay restoration" - saying below inflation pay rises since 2008 have left them with significantly diminished wage packets.

This comes out in the wash as a 35% raise - something which the government says it will not entertain.

Despite the BMA saying it is willing to start talks through the independent arbitration service, the government has repeatedly stated that talks cannot start until the 35% figure is removed as a starting point and strikes are ended.

As we reported earlier, nurses and NHS workers are set to finish voting on pay offers made to them in the wake of their industrial action over the winter.

Should the groups reject what is on the table, a joint action with the BMA could be on the cards.

(Video) Junior doctors in U.K. begin 4-day strike


Nurses and NHS workers to reveal if they will accept pay offers

Over the winter, the Royal College of Nursing launched nationwide strikes for the first time in its history.

Following this industrial action, the government made a new pay offer to the group - including two one-off payments and a 5% increase for many members, as well as commitments on matters like employment conditions.

The almost 300,000 members of the RCN have been voting on the deal since the end of last month with the union's leaders recommending they take what is on the table.

Polling is set to close at 9am - and the union says the results will be released later today.

NHS workers at Unison have been voting on a similar offer, and it has been suggested that they too take the deal.

Their vote closes today, and a result will be announced in the course of the coming days.

Should either vote be rejected, it could lead to further industrial action in the NHS.

This all while junior doctors enter their final full day of a 92-hour strike, which concludes at 7am on Saturday.

A worst-case scenario for the health service, government, and people needing treatment would be if all the unions decide to picket at the same time.


Coming up

The junior doctors' strike enters its fourth and final day - with another 24 hours to run until it finishes at 7am on Saturday.

Matthew Taylor, Chief Executive of NHS Confederation, will be speaking to us at 8.30am.

On the topic of health and strikes, both the Royal College of Nursing and Unison are set to announce the results of ballots on the government's pay offers later today - and rejections could mean nurses and NHS staff go back on strike.

Meanwhile, local elections campaigning continues with polling day less than three weeks away.

Labour is maintaining its campaign on cost of living issues, and claims its Warm Homes Plan would cut energy bills by £500 for millions of families.

The party is also accusing the government of a decade of failure to introduce a proper national efficiency plan.

Labour's James Murray, shadow financial secretary to the Treasury, will be speaking to us shortly after 8am.

(Video) NHS braced as four-day strike by junior doctors looms


Good morning

Welcome back to Politics Hub.

Here is what happened yesterday to get you up to speed:

  • Figures showed the UK economy had flatlined with no growth in February amid widespread strikes;
  • Rishi Sunak said the UK-US relationship is in 'great shape' - after the White House denied that Biden is 'anti-British';
  • Keir Starmer was branded a 'total fraud' as the Tories hit back over Rishi Sunak attack ads;
  • Ministers announced that policewould spend less time dealing with Twitter spats under government plans to cut 'unnecessary red tape';
  • Michael Gove announced that holiday lets could require new permissions in a bid to stop second homes 'pushing out' locals;
  • In the same vein,Rishi Sunak was accused of ditching housebuilding targets to please Tory members;
  • The PM also conceded thatsmall boat crossings will not be stopped 'overnight';
  • The health secretary said he is 'willing to engage' with striking junior doctors, but said a 35% pay rise demand is 'unreasonable';
  • New restrictions were brought in at Holyrood in a bid to stop protests during FMQs.


Fly-tipping ‘effectively legalised’ under Tories - Lib Dems

With polling day for the local elections just three weeks away, campaigning is intensifying, and the Liberal Democrats are the latest to accuse the Tories of being soft on crime.

The party has released new research showing that just one in 500 cases of fly-tipping leads to a prosecution,

Data from local authorities across England shows more than a million fly-tipping incidents were recorded in 2021-22, but fewer than 2,000 resulted in legal action, the Lib Dems said.

Under the Environmental Protection Act 1990, fly-tipping is a criminal offence and can lead to a warning, formal caution, or prosecution.

The party's analysis shows that only1,798 fines were issued by courts for the offence last year, with a total value of £837,000.

(Video) United Kingdom's junior doctors strike for better pay, working conditions

This is equivalent to an average of just 77p in fines being issued for every fly-tipping incident in the country, the party said.

In response, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said the 77p figure is not accurate.

The department said that it does not take into account 91,000 fixed penalty notices issued in 2021/22 - each containing a fine of up to £400.

It added that there were 4% fewer fly-tipping incidents in 2021/22 than in the previous 12 months, and said that enforcement action and the number of penalty notices both increased.

Defra also said the number of court fines rose from 621 to 1,798 in the same period, with the total value of fines more than doubling to £840,000.

Party spokesman for the environment and former leader Tim Farron said: "The fact that fly-tipping is going unpunished is simply appalling.

"If people aren’t being fined, it’s no wonder that they think they can dump their rubbish on the streets without consequence.

"Brits do the right thing with their waste but a badly behaved minority is spoiling our environment.

"The lack of action on this issue from the Government sends out the message that they do not take it seriously enough.

"They have effectively legalised littering through their inaction."

Mr Farron added: "The Lib Dems (would) take more action against fly-tippers by increasing the cost of the fine and using the profits to crack down on fly-tippers."

Conservative party vice chairman Paul Holmes said: "The Lib Dems' record speaks for itself – they charge more in council tax than Conservatives while delivering poorer services for local residents.

"Meanwhile, the Conservatives are tackling fly-tipping through our anti-social behaviour action plan, including fines of up to £1,000 for fly-tippers, while helping deliver new CCTV across the country to catch offenders and restore pride in communities."

Labour has pledged to force fly-tippers to remove litter as part of "clean-up squads".


Labour claims energy efficiency plans could save households £500 on bills

As the local elections draw closer, Labour has spent this week highlighting cost of living issues - and today is no different.

The party is claiming that its £6bn-a-year package of measures to improve energy efficiency could cut bills by £500 for millions of households.

The proposed scheme would pay for upgrades to homes below energy performance certificate (EPC) band C.

Shadow climate change secretary Ed Miliband accused the Tories of failing to address the problem of energy efficiency, and said that Labour's plan would boost the efficiency of 19 million homes over the next decade.

The warm homes scheme is part of Labour’s £28bn a year green prosperity plan.

Labour has not set out how the plan would be funded - shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves will do that at the next general election.

It is likely to be funded by increased borrowing, however.

Labour said if the scheme had been implemented when they first called for it in 2021, two million of the coldest homes could have already been upgraded, saving households over £1bn in total this year.

Mr Miliband said: "One of the reasons that energy bills are so high is the Conservatives' disastrous record on heating our homes.

(Video) Junior doctors committee announces strike dates

"Energy efficiency rates are now 20 times lower than under the last Labour government, but Rishi Sunak is breaking his manifesto promises, rather than upgrading homes.

"Labour’s Warm Homes Plan would upgrade the 19 million homes that need it, cutting bills and creating thousands of good jobs for electricians, engineers, and construction workers across the country."

A Conservative spokesperson said: "Labour’s insulation plan is to stick £28 billion a year on the Government’s credit card – leaving your children to pick up the bill.

"In 2010, just 13% of homes were above Energy Performance (EPC) Band C – that is Labour’s record on insulation.

"We fixed their mess with almost 50% of homes with that rating today.

"Our Great British Insulation Scheme will support a further 300,000 homes to boost efficiency on top of the £6.6 billion invested over this parliament."


Rishi Sunak accused of ditching housebuilding targets to please Tory members

By Alexandra Rogers, political correspondent

Rishi Sunak has been accused of ditching housebuilding targets to court Tory members while he was running to be party leader and prime minister.

In an interview with the ConservativeHome website on Thursday, Mr Sunak acknowledged that the "vast majority of people want to own a home" and insisted it was something his party "continue to be incredibly supportive of".

However, he said that during the summer Tory leadership contest to replace Boris Johnson, he had spoken to Conservative members, activists, and councillors and they expressed "no support" for national housebuilding targets.

Read the full story here:


Polling day looms in this year's local elections

Voters across England will go to the polls on 4 May in this year's set of local elections.

This chart shows the local authorities where people will be casting ballots:

This is the largest part of the four-year local council electoral cycle, with the previous elections taking place in 2019.

There are elections in 4,831 wards for 8,057 seats in 230 councils.

This includes metropolitan boroughs, unitary councils as well as district councils in the shires.

(Video) Why The Doctors Want 35% | Full Pay Restoration Explained

Most of them are being defended by the Conservatives:


1. Heated Debate: Should Doctors Have To Go To Work? | Good Morning Britain
(Good Morning Britain)
2. Steve Barclay's Attack On Junior Doctors Pay Called Out!
(Maximilien Robespierre)
3. Strikes: NHS workers think four day walkout will have 'really significant' impact
(Sky News)
4. NHS strikes: Junior doctors' demands 'unaffordable'
(Sky News)
5. BMA announces junior doctors' strikes in March: 'They've been infiltrated by HARD-LEFT groups'
6. Strikes: Junior doctors in England vote to strike over pay
(Sky News)


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