Anas Sarwar has been challenged to echo calls from Welsh Labour to Westminster for more funding to be made available to the devolved nations from the UK government to provide NHS staff with a fair pay deal.
A joint letter has been sent from the Scottish and Welsh Health Secretaries urging the Westminster Tory government to provide additional funding to avert strike action in the NHS this winter.
Commenting, SNP MSP Emma Harper said:
“Anas Sarwar has a choice, he can either stand on the side-lines or stand by Scotland’s NHS staff and demand more funding to avert strikes this winter, like his colleagues in Welsh Labour have done.
“The Scottish Government, despite its fixed budget, has already offered NHS staff a record pay increase of 7% across the board, with the lowest paid receiving 11%.
“Anas Sarwar’s Welsh Labour colleagues can see the reality that if any more funding is to be made available, under current devolved powers, it is Westminster that needs to step up and provide it.
“If he does not join Welsh Labour and the Scottish Government in calling on the Tories for more funding to be made available then he will be exposed as an opportunist, aiming to make cheap political capital out of a crisis instead of adding his voice to those seeking a solution to a fair pay deal for our NHS.
“The Tory-made cost of living crisis has caused inflation to sky-rocket and so the Tories need to clean up their own mess and provide funding so NHS staff can receive the pay increase they deserve.
“Their failure to provide adequate funding is another reason Scotland must become an independent country, so we are no longer at the mercy of a Westminster government preparing to introduce a fresh wave of brutal austerity.”