Health secretary Steve Barclay insists nurses getting ‘fair’ pay rise as strike dates announced – UK politics live

Good morning. Another day, another strike, because overnight the Royal College of Nursing has set the date for two, 12-hour nursing strikes in December that will affect most of the UK. My colleagues Andrew Gregory and Jamie Grierson have the details here.Pat Cullen, the RCN general secretary, accused Steve Barclay, the health secretary, of being intransigent. She said:If Barclay wishes to meet with me, get round the table and stop the spin and start to speak, he can avert these strikes. My door is wide open night and day. I will make myself available, as will my team on behalf of our nursing staff. That option isn’t available to me at this time and consequently he has chosen strikes over speaking to me.But in tweets this morning Barclay insisted that he was available for talks.Our priority is keeping patients safe. The NHS has tried and tested plans in place to minimise disruption and ensure emergency services continue to operate but inevitably strike action will have an impact on services.— Steve Barclay (@SteveBarclay) November 25, 2022
My door remains open to @theRCN if they want to discuss ways we can improve nurses’ working lives.— Steve Barclay (@SteveBarclay) November 25, 2022
However, he also defended the pay offer already on the table as “fair”.We have accepted the recommendations of the independent NHS Pay Review Body to give nurses a fair pay rise of at least £1,400 this year. This means a newly qualified nurse will typically earn over £31,000 a year— Steve Barclay (@SteveBarclay) November 25, 2022
I’ll post more on this shortly. Here is the agenda for the day.9.30am: MPs debate backbench bill, starting with Liam Fox’s electricity and gas transmission (compensation) bill.10am: Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s first minister, addresses the Poverty Alliance conference in Glasgow.11.30am: Downing Street holds a lobby briefing.Lunchtime: Keir Starmer is doing a visit in Birmingham.I try to monitor the comments below the line (BTL) but it is impossible to read them all. If you have a direct question, do include “Andrew” in it somewhere and I’m more likely to find it. I do try to answer questions and, if they are of general interest, I will post the question and reply above the line (ATL), although I can’t promise to do this for everyone.If you want to attract my attention quickly, it is probably better to use Twitter. I’m on @AndrewSparrow.Alternatively, you can email me at