Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Pay restraint for NHS nurses set to continue to 2020


Pay restraint will continue for public sector workers up until 2020, despite recent indications that the government has rowed back on its financial austerity targets.

A letter sent in July from the Treasury to one of the government’s pay review bodies stated the “fiscal context remains very challenging following the outcome of the EU referendum vote”.

It goes on to confirm that annual pay rises for public sector workers will be an average of 1% up to the end of parliament, as per previous government announcements made in the autumn spending review and summer budget.

“It appears that Hunt has not changed his tune and wants this straitjacket of harsh pay austerity to continue”

Colenzo Jarrett-Thorpe

“As I set out in my letter to you last year, I expected to see targeted pay awards, in order to support the continued delivery of public services, and to address recruitment and retention pressures,” said the letter sent on 13 July by Greg Hands, chief secretary to the Treasury at the time.

“This may mean that some workers could receive more than 1% whilst others receive less, and there should be no expectation that every worker will receive a 1% pay award,” it added.

It is understood that health secretary Jeremy Hunt last week wrote to the chair of the NHS pay review body underlining the government’s commitment to pay restraint.

But calls have been made for the government to drop this approach in light of recent indications from the prime minister, Theresa May, that targets aimed at reaching a surplus for government finances by 2020 are to be abandoned.


Pay restraint for NHS nurses set to continue to 2020

Colenzo Jarrett-Thorpe

The union Unite said that instead of the “straitjacket of harsh pay austerity”, public sector workers should benefit from the “resetting of the British economy”.

Its national officer for health Colenzo Jarrett-Thorpe said: “It is time that Jeremy Hunt changed the stuck record on the gramophone and signalled that he truly values NHS staff who have seen their real incomes drop by some 15% since the Tories came to power in 2010.

“Dedicated NHS staff have endured a crippling cocktail of pay freezes and 1% pay rises over the last six years – it appears that Hunt has not changed his tune and wants this straitjacket of harsh pay austerity to continue, perhaps up to 2020,” he said.

“The new government has indicated that there may be a loosening of the financial targets so beloved by George Osborne when he was chancellor – if that’s the case, public sector workers should be the beneficiaries of this resetting of the British economy,” he added.


Readers' comments (11)

  • The shortage of nurses across England will continue beyond the turn of the next decade if provider trusts fail to reduce demand for services, it has emerged (Nursing Times, 2016).

    Pay restraint for NHS nurses set to continue to 2020 (Nursing Times, 2016).

    Removal of the student nurse bursary: the story so far (Nursing Times, 2016)

    Is there anything positive that the government could do to encourage people into nursing as a career because these issues quoted above are not providing the necessary impetus... just an observation.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Isn't it time to follow the recent junior doctors actions?

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • And yet it was announced that the CEOs of FTSE 100 companies have had their pay increased by an average of 10% in 2015...And they are all already millionaires...

    The money is there.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Does the government or the general public not respect our profession anymore? maybe we should follow our Doctors and make a stand? Nurses are feeling more and more pressure with a heavier workload and less staff and are not being rewarded either with a pay rises in line with inflation or support. A friend who is a teaching assistant with minimal responsibility earns the same hourly pay as me, and I'm left wondering at times what's the point?

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Nurses are classed as "numbers". It is no longer a respected profession. Shortage of Nurses will continue and more patients will suffer as a result.
    I already quit my job as a Nurse and now enjoying a stress-free job that I love doing.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • This article is right next to one which reveals hundreds of training places have been left unfilled.
    So glad I managed to leave the job.
    Nurses are sadly undervalued and exploited and I can't see the situation changing.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • If the government's proposed pay restraint continues, then newly qualified nurses will be earning £11.69 gross per hour in 2020. This will be only £2.39 per hour above the projected minimum wage of £9.3 per hour in 2020. By then many British nurses and potential nursing students may decide that it is more lucrative to work as a supervisor at the local supermarket (no student debt, nights, demanding relatives, feeling demoralised because you're not able to provide the care that you've been trained to provide because of a lack of staff and resources, being bullied and harassed, and constantly attacked for care failings in the press that aren't you're fault). Mass recruitment from the Philipines and India here we come as the only people motivated to work in the NHS in 2020 and beyond are those driven to escape third world poverty and hunger.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment


    I hate to say it, but after spending all my life in the States, dealing with the Merry-go-Round and Roller Coaster rides of what they have the brass to call "Health Care" here, either as a patient or a worker; and almost all my working life in some form of healthcare in the States, if you go through and change a few names (not to protect the innocent but to expose the guilty) and change GB£ to US$, you have pretty much the same story. Sorry you all are having such a whirlwind of controversy and difficulties there now - your system of medical care there has almost always been the subject of admiration among those of us who do not find "Socialism" and health care for all, no matter what your financial standing, to be dirty words! We've struggled for many decades under the all-powerful, all-controlling commercial, for-profit insurance companies, and it seems no matter how hard we try to be fair, and make health care a right and not a privilege, there is always a that oh-so-vocal power mad "Party of NO!" ready, willing and able to snatch it away.
    Our nurses constantly fight the same battles, in a pendulum swinging environment of "too many nurses - lay them off - too many vacancies - train and recruit new ones - too many nurses - lay them off....etc., etc., ad nauseum." It's gotten to the point where a vast percentage of the nurses in this country are reaching retirement age, as they belong to our "Baby Boom" generation, and as they and the rest of us continue to age and create an even larger demand for services, there aren't nearly enough on the younger end of the spectrum to take their places. I'm right smack in the middle of that group, having been born in 1957. It's a frightening prospect, to be sure. And I've already been disabled for almost five years! But, I have many friends in the profession, and plenty of former co-workers and colleagues that keep me in the loop, in addition to my own investigation and research.
    It's a never ending vicious cycle that the bean counters and the penny pinchers and the needs of patients can never seem to get together on, unless it's to butt heads.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • It is the same old story, recruitment for nurses is down, no pay rise for how many years to come, low staffing levels regardless of how many times it is highlighted by the CQC. The bottom line is that nurses are not respected by the government and that is filtering through to the general public. They know that however stressed nurses become, they will still turn up for work. Its called exploitation, and has been the case for years. The general public feel they can say anything they like to nurses knowing that we cannot respond for the most part, which adds to the stress levels already felt with understaffing, no pay rise, continued prodding to work extra shifts and longer hours to cover shortfalls. No wonder recruitment is low and getting worse, its not rocket science, if these issues are not addressed at some point, there won't be many experienced nurses. There will only be unqualified health care workers trying their best to provide the care needed.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Spot on with the articles above, when will the truth be told. We have managers in hospitals not addressing any of these issues, who will actually say it how it is ?. The nurses and other NHS workers are all in the same position, over-worked and under -paid, morale is low, recruitment and retention poor. No sustainability, no action or responsibility taken to sort things out. A public pay freeze for so long is just plain wrong. The gov't has devalued professions in the NHS, to the point that students are picking other careers, who can blame them.

    Meanwhile Drs and Consultants seem to be getting the press and at least some offers of improved conditions by strike action, but what about people that support these professions. What will we be able to leave to our children as a legacy? housing is unaffordable, holidays limited, this is no fun for anyone, anymore.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

Show 1020results per page

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.