Ministers have confirmed they’re looking at options for the military to be part of contingency plans
The military could be brought in to minimise disruption from a series of public sector strikes this month.
Conservative Party chairman Nadhim Zahawi says soldiers could be involved in driving ambulances and securing the country’s borders.
“It is the right and responsible thing to do to have contingency plans in place,” he told Sky News’s Sophy Ridge On Sunday programme.
“We have a very strong team at Cobra who are doing a lot of the work in looking at what we need to do to minimise the disruption to people’s lives.
“We have looking at the military, we are looking at a specialist response force which we have actually set up a number of years ago.
“We have to make sure are borders are always secure and that is something we guarantee. Things like driving ambulances and other parts of the public sector – we have got to try and minimise disruption.”
Meanwhile, Mr Zahawi has refused to rule out using pharmacists to ease the pressure on the NHS due to industrial action by nurses and other staff.
He told Sky News’s Sophy Ridge On Sunday programme that the Government had a duty to ensure there was a “minimum safety level of delivery” in place in the health service.
“The NHS will look at all contingency planning to make sure that patients are able to get the urgent treatment that they need. We have to be able to deliver a safe level of treatment and support to patients at all times,” he said.
Mr Zahawi urged unions across the public sector to abandon their demands for inflation or above-inflation pay awards, warning they were unaffordable.
“To ask for a 19% pay rise which would cost the NHS £10 billion I think is the wrong thing to do right now,” he said.
“If you accept all the inflation-level pay rises, that is about £28 billion.
“It would cost every household just short of £1,000. That is unsustainable when we are trying to be fiscally disciplined.”