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

Osborne reveals NHS pay restraint bombshell

  • 56 Comments

Nurses working in the NHS will continue to see their pay restrained, with annual salary rises restricted to 1% over the next four years, Chancellor George Osborne has said today as he laid out the new government’s financial plans.

However, he also announced the national minimum wage for people over the age of 25 will increase – creating a “national living wage” – to £7.20 an hour in 2016, and then £9 by 2020.

In his first budget announcement since the Conservative government won the election, Mr Osborne said there was a “simple trade-off” between pay and jobs in many public services.

“I know there has already been a period of pay restraint. But we said last autumn there we would need to find commensurate savings in this parliament,” he said.

“So, to ensure we have public services we can afford and to protect more jobs, we will continue recent public sector pay awards with a rise of 1% per year for the next four years,” said Mr Osborne.

The chancellor said the NHS was the government’s “priority” and went on to reiterate the Conservative commitment to provide it with an additional £8bn a year by 2020, in line with the Five-Year Forward View, the five-year plan set out last autumn by NHS England boss Simon Stevens.

Mr Osborne said this was on top of the extra £2bn already promised for the NHS budget this year, which would amount to an additional £10bn a year by 2020.

However, he noted that the NHS itself would have to make “very challenging” efficiency savings over the coming years.

“Public spending should reflect public priorities and we have to make choices. Our priority is the national health service,” he said.

In its full budget document published today, the government states average levels of public and private sector pay are the same, but that public sector workers “continue to benefit from a significant premium once employer pension contributions are taken into account”.

“George Osborne’s announcement might look attractive at first glance, but he’s simply giving to the low-paid with one hand and taking away with the other”

Dave Prentis

It says restricting pay to 1% a year from 2016-17 onwards will save the government around £5bn by 2019-20.

The document also reveals there will be a “renewed focus” on reforming progression pay and other terms and conditions for public sector workers.

Meanwhile, it explains that workers over the age of 25 will be paid a premium on top of the national minimum wage to ensure they earn what Mr Osborne is calling a “national living wage” of at least £7.20 an hour from April 2016.

However, the Living Wage Foundation – an independent charity which calculates annual minimum rates of pay – sets the current UK living wage at £7.85 an hour, and £9.15 an hour for those living in London.

Unison described the 1% pay award as “miserly” and said the announcement would “hasten the reluctant exit of many dedicated staff from our hospitals, schools and local councils”.

The union’s general secretary Dave Prentis said: “The economy is growing yet public servants remain shut out of the recovery.

“Britain won’t have public services fit for 21st century needs, unless wages for public servants are high enough to attract the best recruits. Pay austerity might be over for MPs but it’s set to continue for many more years for everyone else in the public sector.”

He added “An hourly rate of £7.20 is not a living wage. George Osborne’s announcement might look attractive at first glance but as tax credits are cruelly snatched away – leaving many workers £1,200 worse off – he’s simply giving to the low-paid with one hand and taking away with the other.”

The Royal College of Nursing echoed concerns about the “shock” announcement to limit pay rises to 1% for nurses and other public sector workers.

It warned of “serious consequences” for nurses and patients, pointing to the ongoing struggle being experienced by the NHS in recruiting nurses.

“Nurses are already feeling the effect of what will now be a decade of severe pay restraint”

Peter Carter

Peter Carter, chief executive and general secretary of the RCN, said: “Nurses are working harder than ever under greater pressure as demand for their care is growing.

“That demand is only going to increase over the years to come,” he said. “Nurses are already feeling the effect of what will now be a decade of severe pay restraint and subsequent reduced living standards.”

He added: “This decision will make the situation worse as nurses realise they are not valued – the shock of this announcement will be felt by many.

“There is an independent NHS Pay Review Body that makes recommendations about NHS pay awards – until the chancellor spoke today, nursing staff were totally unaware that this was disappearing.”

 

 

  • 56 Comments

Readers' comments (56)

  • I am now officially loooking to leave the NHS. This worm is turning....

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Pay restraint:no surprise there then....

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • The country is broke, public services are broke, the NHS is broke - Surely a 1% rise, in the circumstances that we are in, within an establishment that has no doubt trained and supported you is not that bad? Don't fall into the trap of demonising nurses and the NHS - Suck it up and carry one - We are committed to caring and if anyone came into it for the money then they were sadly mistaken.
    Hold your heads up high, we do a fantastic job, most people would love to give us all a massive pay rise............... but.......... no one wants to see services shut or jobs lost nit just in the NHS but the wider public sector too

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • MP's 11% Nurses 1%
    5 months and I'm out. Never envisaged ending my career like this.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Off to do agency work then as no insentive to stay in the NHS.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Deeply offended by the chancellor and the complete and utter disdain that he has shown towards the NHS and the nurses. We are paying for the mistakes made by other proffesionals in other industries and the complete and utter incompentence of this and the last government.
    I am especially sick at the chancellor only a few weeks ago talking of how well the economy is doing and that most wages are rising now above the rate of inflation. PLEASE STIKE..........
    PLEASE PLEASE STRIKE.....
    I am very caring like the majority of nurses but I have to make a decent living wage....

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • watch the nurses leave in their hundreds .....

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Knowing many friends who have left the NHS to work agency and then in the private sector a lot of them have regretted it and looked to return to the NHS.

    The grass isn't always greener and it has always been the case that not one of us ever became a nurse to get rich.

    If anyone is looking for a bit of perspective on the list of 100 average wages in the UK, Midwives come 30th and Nurses 38th. http://www.icalculator.info/news/UK_average_earnings_2014.html

    We might be badly treated, but there are a lot of people earning a lot less.

    For the record I am not, and never will be, a Tory supporter.



    I

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Just don't forget the conditions of service. I know people moan about the pay but not many other employers offer such good holidays, who give time off in lieu in addition to Bank Holiday pay, and there are very few indeed who would be so generous with their attitude towards sickness (even when they know very well that some staff take advantage of this) and who offer reasonable job security and paid time off to do the continuing training that we are required to do. I know successive governments sideline us because they can, and because a lot of nurses are conscientious enough never to consider strike action. I would like more money too, wouldn't we all, but I recognise that the pay is not the ONLY reason I work for the NHS. I've worked in the private sector, too, and the support just isn't there.

    I think I had better remain anonymous because I don't like it when people shout at me...........

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • But what the heck, if I've got something to say I should just say it!

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • You could pay nurses a million pounds a minute, but with the conditions of work, high money would make it easier to leave earlier, but not solve the conditions. It is different having to slide a 30-stone man up the bed, needing 6 staff, most of whom were overseas nurses and thinner and shorter than the average UK nurse, and having to poach them from the next ward because there were not 6 staff on the ward of any description at the time. Added to that people with dementia who were wondering about and pulling out IV lines, which entails having to do the same job twice to rectify that. Add pay would help, where, in all of that? The worst wards have a high-proportion of overseas nurses from less wealthy countries - that should imply that UK nurses do not want to work there, should it not?

    The pay is one part of a problem. But there are so many to choose from.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • I wouldn't object to 1% pay rise if everybody else only got that much including Politicians.

    What I object to is being told that the national average pay increase is now well above inflation. Partly this will be influenced by politicians are paying themselves an 11% increase, thus fudging the figures for reporting purposes.

    I'd like to see the politicians live on this 'Living Wage' of £7.20 per week.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • It is appalling the MP's will gladly accept a 10/11% increase in 2015 but won't stand up for anything more than 1% for arguably THE most important public workers in the UK. Why don't the MP's take a 1% pay rise as well to show their alliance if the NHS is such an important pillar for England. It's all for show, frankly. The nurses are being taken for granted. I'm sure the MP's aren't in it for the money either, but they make sure they are well taken care of!

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • To those thinking that this is a reason to leave the NHS, even after another 4 years of restraint, I bet your total remuneration package will remain better than most nurses will find they are worth outside.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • I think that this underlines something very pertinent

    That is...

    Does your union strike?

    If the RCM and Unison are prepared to strike then why not the RCN?

    Does the RCN deserve our subscriptions when continuing with its meekness and refusal to tackle the current government with the only weapon we have which is our very skilled and caring practice?

    The problem is that in the RCN not striking - the body politic of professional nursing is split and into such a split can crawl this government and maintain services even during a strike

    We need to be unified

    We need to fight back

    If we do not this will continue and we will lose more and more and more

    The NHS will lose more skilled staff an our role in preserving this fine institution will be for nought if we are no longer able to live within its ripped fabric

    STRIKE NOW

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • 1% for all then okay but 1% for some but not others is totally unacceptable. Well to all of those nurses out there I say this. You do a fantastic job and the majority of us are grateful for the time, effort and compassion you show all of us who need you. Don't let them grind you down. Its not fair I know but what would we do without you all. Stay with it for all out sakes.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • This is me -Anonymous | 8-Jul-2015 1:42 pm

    Well done to Jill Garnett and others with NHS stamped through their very core.....

    And as for this comment.......

    Added to that people with dementia who were wondering about and pulling out IV lines, which entails having to do the same job twice to rectify that

    I would suggest do the job properly in the first place in the correct environment with the correct skills and remember the "people with dementia" are mums, dads, aunties, uncles, husbands, wives and partners - humility and compassion would resolve this not loads of extra staff.

    So "Anonymous | 8-Jul-2015 3:40 pm" I would suggest if you practice in the way that you refer to your colleagues and patients then perhaps it is time for you to move on, I think the NHS could manage without you

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Don't be fooled by this, the 1% per year will actually transpire to be 1% over 4 years, held until the fourth year and then we will be informed that the NHS cannot afford 1% pay rise therefore this will equate to 0% rise over the next four years.

    To be quite honest, this government is going to shaft us as much as possible and as quickly as possible.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • What a kick in the face. Disgraceful.
    No nurses don't go into nursing for the money, but it would make life a little more comfortable to have a little more.
    For all those who voted for the Tories, hang your head in shame

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Wrong people being targetted again.

    Should be rewarding the caring and compassionate people who work in the NHS for the good of the country.

    That way wouldnt need agency nurses and agencies who are rolling in it.

    False economy.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • I think is is disgusting to hold public sector pay down yet again. We have been ripped off by the public utilities. Food prices and fuel have risen significantly over the last few years and our standard of living has decreased. Any nurse who works in the private sector including working for a GP gets approx 5 weeks annual leave, maybe 2 weeks full sick pay, 2 weeks half sick pay and then nothing. I am sick of nurses who have a husband bringing in a second income and who are not sole bread winners telling the rest of us to stop winging. It's very expensive to live in the south-east. And I am sick of the apathy generally found amongst nurses when it comes to standing up for our rights. Too many nurses put up with under-staffing and working unpaid overtime which puts patients at risk as tired stressed nurses are not clinically safe. The nursing profession should wake up, stop acting like martyrs and more like professionals in my opinion. The spineless section of our profession are ruining it for those of us who are dedicated to nursing and also want to make an honest living. Why the hell should hard-working nurses and other public sector workers not benefit from a recovering economy?

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Why do we have to have percentage rises? It galls me to think the higher paid are getting a bigger rise thus continuing the disparity between the staff nurse and the heads of nursing. Let's have a pay rise of say £1000 a year for everyone. The chancellor would then save even more money.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Beggars belief I'm off early retirement and Agency work for me

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Others have said it, but the 1% would be easier to swallow if the MPs had refused their 11% and accepted 1% to send a message that we are all in the same boat. Seemingly not

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • The official Labour Party response (Chris Leslie a few minutes ago)
    "I don’t feel as though, you know, we should change our position, where we were on public sector pay restraint… It is very difficult… Look, I think we have got to weigh up some of these changes and be more thoughtful in the way, you know, don’t just literally oppose everything, as Harriet was saying, tempting though it might be to oppose everything, I think it is, you know, we don’t want to see public sector jobs being lost in the way that would happen if you found departments rising, choosing to raise pay, but making people redundant and that is a very difficult and somewhat invidious choice for those departments, but ultimately I think a level of restraint is probably necessary.’

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • In response to Anonymous | 8-Jul-2015 6:42 pm

    What a shame

    Labour going all Blairite again

    Surely it is time for the TUC and Trade union to end their association and more importantly withold their money from the Neo-Conservatives in the Labour Party

    Who exactly is on our side?

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Well, why does this not surprise me? As per usual, Nurses get a crap raise, yet those idiot MP's are expecting and 11% rise from the taxpayer ! It does not justify them getting a massive rise for doing sweet FA (other than laughing at the NHS and other Public Sectors), they are smiling because yet again they have or are going to rip us off. What in this world gives them the right to a huge pay rise?, while they also claim for second homes and business expenses, which are again, paid by the TAXPAYER. Why don't they have a 1% rise and give us the 10%?

    There is also the problem, of making the NHS Trusts save money, while expecting all nurses/support workers/assistant nurses, work harder for nothing extra and provide so called better care. How dare these fools assume that we are not already giving that level of care already ! Do these twits have any idea of what it is like to look after patients as though they were your own relatives/family etc? No they don't, so stop trying to shaft the NHS for under/overspending, you simply have no idea do you MP's?

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • If min wage is £9, we should earn more than £2 more than that....

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • The BMA gets everything it wants for doctors. They want distance between themselves and nurses, so they'll keep talking nursing down behind the closed doors of the London clubs where they meet their Westminster pals.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • I came into nursing to care and serve the children and families placed in my care. I did not come into nursing to concern myself with profiting from their poor fortune.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • 8:59pm

    Wow! Nobody was suggesting profiting from patients! The issue here is not that the public must pay more but that the government should be more sensitive in how they share out the national budget - particularly since MPs have cheerfully just accepted 11%.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Nurses have been badly paid since missus thatcher- sorry but it ain't going to change as has been proved today-off to be a tube driver

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Check out what happens when a union cares for and supports its members taking strike action .................

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/general-election-2015/politics-blog/11725850/How-well-off-are-Londons-tube-drivers-and-why-are-they-striking.html

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • To be honest, the 1% pay rise doesn't surprise but what worries me more is the talk of taking away unsociable hours!!!! My nightshifts are what keep my head above water every month and I'm sorry but Anon 8 Jul 8:59pm, you should be ashamed of yourself for even making a comment like that! No nurse profits from families and patients misfortunes but as professionals, we deal with difficult, heartbreaking and sometimes life-threatening situations and decisions in all scopes of the nursing profession and after many years of continued study to become better at what I do I think it's only right we are paid in accordance with this and the fact that the cost of daily living has increased dramatically over the last few years and continues to do so!

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • 10% for osborne and his cronies..great eh

    I hope all you nurses who voted tory are so proud of your achievment....and wait until your out of hours pay is cut!!!

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • michael stone

    Loads of responses very quickly - pay and working conditions, invariably attract responses like bees to honey. That seems to be true of all forums.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • There is a genuine lack of steel in our
    nursing.
    We do this job to help make a difference to other people, their lives and to improve their quality of life.
    Money is not a nurses master.... we however should note the incredible work we do not only for individuals but for the communities and the general population.
    We must stand up and demand more respect, better conditions, more staff and of course a pay that reflects the commitment we show everyday in making a difference. Shame, Shame, Shame on the government and our nursing leaders....

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • I'm not sure this is a bombshell really, we've been treated badly for years. I've only just come into the profession. I did so out of love for the job, not the money. However, saying that, I'd like to earn enough money so that I'm not constantly worrying over bills, etc.

    If 1% was being rolled out to everyone - I get it. But for us to be penalised when they're getting a huge pay rise is just not fair.

    I love my job, I probably wouldn't leave the NHS, but it has crossed my mind many times.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • "Added to that people with dementia who were wondering about and pulling out IV lines, which entails having to do the same job twice to rectify that"

    "I would suggest do the job properly in the first place in the correct environment with the correct skills and remember the "people with dementia" are mums, dads, aunties, uncles, husbands, wives and partners - humility and compassion would resolve this not loads of extra staff"

    Sorry, but why would doing the job properly in the first place stop people with dementia from pulling out the lines? Would it make them undertsand better why they had a line sticking out of their skin?

    I suppose more staff would help, in a way - there would be somebody to sit with people and distract them from pulling things out. Off topic, of course.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • In response to "I came into nursing to care and serve the children and families placed in my care. I did not come into nursing to concern myself with profiting from their poor fortune" well done, but I do enjoy getting paid fairly for a job well done, I do not have the luxury of working as a charity case.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • @Anonymous | 8-Jul-2015 4:07 pm
    ''Added to that people with dementia who were wondering about and pulling out IV lines, which entails having to do the same job twice to rectify that

    I would suggest do the job properly in the first place in the correct environment with the correct skills and remember the "people with dementia" are mums, dads, aunties, uncles, husbands, wives and partners - humility and compassion would resolve this not loads of extra staff.''

    You have quite misunderstood the situation. I came from a dementia care background. The ward itself later 'disappeared'. You presume I was not observing but rather caring - or not - as you imply. There was, at that stage, no way of preventing someone who was wondering from going into other rooms and removing I.V.s. when more staff than were on the ward were needed for one patient. This was, at that time, more than routine stress. Much of this was observable, by me and other visitors - trained or not -over a period of time. I hope that you, too, would have both reported this and understood where poor work differed from an inability for staff to cope with multiple emergencies outside of A&E. Most are used to coping with a number of emergencies in addition to routine, but if you were to double or treble various stress-points, there would be a point when patient safety could not be guaranteed. And, within that context, having to fetch staff from another ward that is, in theory, higher dependency, is not something to preserve but to challenge. You cannot imply that the same staffing level applies to all cases. You manage because one or two additional stresses are worked into the normal; when the ward changes to the extent that it needs renaming (partly true in this case), then this has to be escalated (and so it was). You visit long enough, you observe enough to make a vaild complaint.

    If you viewed my comment about dementia unfavourably. Perhaps the weariness of nearly losing my own relative through neglect that a whizz around the BNF would have highlighted - and we did - made me seem lazy. But alas, my sigh was because on the occasion alluded to, these staff were not at fault, which is almost worse because management are far slower to shift, and so the problem remains.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • The coalition government dipped its toe in the water to test reaction to the changes in the NHS pension, which for many years Ben in surplus. We stood by, the government made unnecessary changes and they now have permission to treat us unfairly.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Many pertinent points having been made above, I'd like to add my thoughts.

    Regarding restraint: yes, it speaks for itself, 11% for MPs v. 1% for nurses. Restraint used here by politicians is a Humpty-Dumpty word sc. used to mean what they want it to mean. Ergo it has no meaningful significance for nurses.

    Strike action: as we all know, politicians have for decades taken advantage of nurses in the full knowledge that they draw the line at striking. The rationale for not striking is manifestly to avoid compromising patient care. What is always overlooked is care of the nurse in terms of stress, exhaustion, financial worries sc. making ends meet, etc.

    It can be argued that in all the circumstances there is a cogent case for taking industrial action. The RCN declines to support taking this course and thus, in my view, exposes its fundamental weakness. I was briefly a committee member of the RCN (before illness caused me to have to vacate my seat) and I argued strongly that an associated but separate nursing union needed to be established. It ill behoves a Royal College to be directly involved in industrial action, therefore a nursing union arm is needed to take (IF that is what it takes) strike action. The was some support for my argument but the majority view was that the RCN was stronger if it combined Royal Collegeship with union function. I continue to disagree profoundly with this approach.

    In my view, advantage will continue to be taken of nurses for the foreseeable until a realistic union is formed that is prepared to take whatever action - albeit with the support of its membership - is deemed necessary in order to protect the well-being of nurses.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • I really do wish people would stop banging on about MPs and 11% rises. There are 650 of them not the tens of thousands of nurses that would love a decent pay rise - so the impact is less.

    Also the 11% rise is a rationalisation of their T&Cs meaning the end to the expenses debacle that they have profited from.

    Why oh why are we not picking on footballers who earn a staff nurse's annual salary in a week? This is propped up by subscription tv money - far easier to derail by not subscribing.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • 12:36pm

    You're missing the point by a mile. Go back to sleep.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • No surprises, a Tory government say they care for nurses + NHS, but their actions is definitely not caring and devalues nurses. Those who voted Tory will wonder if they're going to get what they wanted, pay restrictions, reduced nursing staff, poorer care of patients. This will not help patients outcomes, will not help recruitment + retention of nurses + will increase agency spending.
    Some nurses have retired early, others quit, + those remaining are looking to work agency shifts on their own time as most organizations don't pay overtime - so retains security of a substantive post.
    The majority of nurses did not vote against pension changes, to go on strike, for pay increases or campaigned/lobby previous government for better changes, we are seeing the results of their apathy.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • I wonder if people who think they're rich and voted Torys hoping that they're in it together with the really wealthy people will realize they're right.

    We'll be in the sh1t together, people will pay much more for care, to carers, nurses, homes + services as they will be means tested due to social care cutbacks + already happening with healthcare rationing. It's worrying how much money is needed when someone needs 24/7 care. Not much change from a £million mansion.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • michael stone | 9-Jul-2015 10:09 am$


    what do you expect. I am sure nurses could do without your silly remarks

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • I work very hard physical + mental. My pay is not reflecting the amount of work I do, as it is much too low. I have compared other jobs' workloads I cannot find one that is the same, all are better paid even with less stress levels.
    If the wards were well staffed then I can accept what I get, but not when I am doing three people's jobs and working on adrenaline throughout my shift. This job is not good for my health so I will retire early.
    Nursing causes high risk of heart disease and cancer.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

  • Nursing pay and conditions will never improve whilst there are so many nurses bleating on about how 'privileged' they feel to be doing the job.
    I got to the point where I didn't feel I was getting just reward for a physically and mentally demanding job with no management support and colleagues who were, in the main, apathetic and would moan continuously about pay and the ever increasing workload but never put their heads above the line to change things.
    I literally walked out one day when my manager decided to have another hissy fit.
    I was lucky to be financially able to do it and after 3 years I don't regret it at all.
    I just wish that everyone who is as desperately unhappy as I was could do the same.
    42 years of nursing - the majority of which were great. The last 8 were absolute hell.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

Show 102050results 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.

Related Jobs