Star comment: It is not possible to spend our way out of trouble

Nurses should be think long and hard before they strike. Thousands of NHS operations and appointments are likely to be cancelled if nurses take industrial action across the UK.

That means people will be left in pain and in distress. There are too few agency nurses to cover and the system would be in meltdown.

While we all want nurses to be given a fair deal - and appreciate fully the amazing work they do - a claim from the RCN for a pay increase of five per cent above the already-high inflation rate is simply unrealistic.

Nurses deserve a good deal, but they must also be aware that some restraint is needed across the public and private sector if inflation is to be tackled. Sky-high wage rises across the board will simply fuel further inflation rises. That in turn pushes the country deeper into its state of ‘stagflation’.

The Government must not use emotional blackmail in treating nurses poorly, of course. They were on the frontline during Covid and have suffered a real-time decrease in their pay packet.

The grim reality, however, is that with a stagnant economy and a high rate of inflation, we are all in the same boat. It is time to make savings in household budgets, as well as the national budget, as we all show restraint and accept that it is simply not possible to spend our way out of trouble.

These are challenging times for all. Nurses must not lose public support by taking industrial action that will lead to suffering among others. We are all in a similar position, economically, and compromise must be found on both sides. An excessive claim from the RCN is pie-in-the-sky when the nation faces such parlous times.

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As politicians in Westminster tackle crises on many fronts, Matt Hancock is wading through sludge in the I’m a Celebrity jungle. The former minister claims he is attempting to connect to voters, but he last night cut an undignified figure as he took part in his first bushtucker trial.

He tried his best as Health Secretary but made mistakes, some of which led to lives being lost during the Covid pandemic. He at least did the decent thing by standing down for breaking the rules while others did not. But now he is in danger of losing any semblance of respect he had by escaping Down Under and lining his pockets.

We trust he will make clear that he is donating all his fee to charity on his return, when he also promises to knuckle-down as a constituency MP. The damage to his reputation may already be beyond repair. Mr Hancock is deserving of his trials.

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