Government accepts 1% pay rise for public sector workers


The Government has accepted a recommended 1% pay rise for public sector workers, including doctors and nurses.

The awards covers more than one million employees, including staff in the armed forces.

Ministers said the award was in line with its policy of an average 1% pay increase in 2016-17.

NHS staff, doctors and dentists, and members of the armed forces will receive an average of 1%, while Prison Service staff will get 1.36% as an "exceptional award" for "highly ambitious" prison reforms.

Health union leaders said 1% was "way below" what workers needed.

The announcement follows recommendations from pay review bodies.

Chief Secretary to the Treasury Greg Hands said: "Our armed forces, NHS workers and prison officers do a brilliant job serving our country but with an increasingly turbulent global economy, pay restraint continues to be a key part of our plan to finish fixing the public finances.

"The independent OBR (Office for Budget Responsibility) estimates that 200,000 public sector jobs have been protected thanks to our average 1% pay policy so we can continue to deliver crucial public services.

"The independent pay review bodies have worked hard to bring forward a balanced and affordable set of recommendations that delivers on our commitments to increase pay by an average of 1% across the workforces.

"The Government is grateful for their work and I am pleased that we are able to accept their recommendations."

Unison's head of health Christina McAnea said: "It's disappointing for NHS workers that the pay review body has stuck to the artificial 1% pay freeze imposed by the Chancellor.

"Government pay policies since 2010 have seen most health staff lose thousands in real terms - nurses are down more than £4,700 since then. This 1% pay rise falls way below what health workers need and deserve after years of pay cuts, especially as changes to national insurance and pension contributions will absorb much of this miserly increase.

"The governments in Scotland and Wales are committed to paying health workers the living wage. NHS staff earning below this in England and Northern Ireland will quite rightly want to know why tackling poverty pay in the NHS in their countries isn't a political priority.

"It's no surprise that many desperately hard-up health workers are leaving the NHS to come back as agency staff where they can earn more money."

Jon Skewes of the Royal College of Midwives, said: "This award recognises the hard work and dedication of midwives and other NHS staff. However, it is not good enough.

"A 1% award does not make up for the shortfall in the pay awards over previous years, when the Government have ignored the PRB recommendations, and which leaves the average NHS worker over £4,000 worse off every year than they were a few years ago."

Danny Mortimer, chief executive of NHS Employers, said: "Employers in the NHS will welcome the acceptance by the Government of the clear recommendations of the NHS Pay Review Bodies.

"At the same time they recognise that the continued restraint of pay increases across the public sector is of concern to their staff and also restricts the ability to agree reform of non-medical contracts with staff representatives."

A Department of Health spokesman said: "It is thanks to the care, quality and dedication of NHS staff we are beginning to deliver a safer seven-day NHS for patients.

"In line with the rest of the public sector, we are pleased to announce that all NHS staff will receive a 1% pay increase next year."


Junior doctors, who will stage a 48-hour strike from Wednesday over their contracts row with the Government, will receive the 1% increase from April.

The Department of Health said as they move to the new contract in August, the award has already been added to new pay progression points.