The RCN has expressed disappointment that the chancellor Alistair Darling has not used his pre-budget report to improve NHS pay, but praised reductions in income tax and VAT.
Peter Carter, general secretary of the RCN, said Mr Darling had not improved pay for nurses and other public sector organisations.
He said: ‘We are disappointed that the chancellor failed to use this opportunity to review and revise the government’s cap on public sector pay.
‘The RCN believes that a pledge to fully fund an improved NHS pay deal would not only have fairly rewarded hard working nursing staff and their colleagues, it would also have provided a much need needed fiscal stimulus to the UK economy.’
However he welcomed the reduction in VAT from 17.5% to 15% from 1 December 2008 until 31 December 2009. A decision to maintain the £120 tax rebate for people on the lowest tax band, increasing to £145 from April, was also praised.
‘We are pleased that this country’s nursing workforce will benefit from the cuts to VAT and basic rate tax announced by the chancellor, as well as the proposals to reduce home repossessions and help hard-pressed mortgage payers.’