Jeremy Hunt SQUIRMS as Charlotte Hawkins probes him over NHS nurses' pay cap

The Secretary of Stare for Health was on the breakfast show to discuss the government’s pledge to create 21,000 mental health posts as part of the NHS’ expansion plan. 

He went on to add that he wanted to attract psychiatrists and mental health nurses back into the NHS, commenting: “We want to say that the NHS is a world leader in mental health provision that we are doing, we still want to do a lot better than we are and we want your skills and we want you back.”

Charlotte probed Jeremy over his bid to attract nurses back asking: “And to encourage people like that back will you consider lifting the pay cap?”

Jeremy looked uncomfortable as he tried to dodge the question, replying: “Well, we recognise that people are working very hard and I have said many times that I would like, if possible, to be more generous to nurses because I think they do a brilliant job on the front line.

“But it’s a question of what the country can afford and it’s a question of getting the balance right so we can continue to put more money into the economy and put more money into the NHS.”

The blonde beauty did not appear to be impressed with his response and went on to press him: “So, when you say you would like to be more generous to nurses, does that mean you’re going to lift the pay cap when it comes to nurses specifically?”

“We have our clear policy which is that we have to have pay restraint, the numbers I have just spoken about the extra 32,000 we have working in mental health since 2010 we wouldn’t have been able to afford that if we hadn’t shown pay discipline,” Jeremy said defending himself.

But he added: “We recognise it is tough on the front line and we recognise that NHS staff have never worked so hard and that’s why we will have the independent pay review bodies who will look at these matters and we will consider what they have to say before making our final decision.”

Charlotte was joined on today by Eamonn Holmes, who has replaced as he enjoys his summer break. 

Viewers at home were thrilled to see the presenter back on breakfast television and permanently. 

Good Morning Britain airs weekdays on ITV at 6am. 

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