He told the BBC that the deal, which would also cover other public sector workers, would make it easier for government departments to plan ahead.
Mr Darling told the Today programme: ‘What there is certainty as to what the pay increase will be, not just this year, but next year and the year after,’ the chancellor told BBC Radio 4's Today programme. ‘What we are looking at here is to get a degree of certainty so that both sides - employer and employee - know where they stand.’
But the RCN said the offer must be in line with inflation. General secretary Peter Carter said: ‘Irrespective of whether salaries are set for three years or 12 months, what nurses want and deserve is a fair deal. And given that mortgages, council tax, transport costs and energy bills are all on the rise right now, a fair deal for nurses is one that reflects the real cost of living.’
‘If we were to sign up to a long-term pay settlement in today’s volatile economy we must have a mechanism that will protect the living standards of nurses from any future rises in inflation.’
Talks between NHS Employers and unions before Christmas over a multi-year deal stalled.