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Hunt: Chancellor will not fund nurse pay rise unless NHS 'improves productivity'

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt has claimed that he has been told the Government will not provide extra money for a pay rise for nurses unless the NHS becomes more efficient.

Speaking to the Andrew Marr show on Sunday, Mr Hunt said: 'The Chancellor has said that if we can have a negotiation and look at some of the ways that we could improve productivity at the same time then he is willing to have a discussion with me about whether extra resources can be found.'

He added that the size of any pay increase would be left up to the independent pay review bodies, but that he understood the 'frustration' felt by staff whose wages have been kept below inflation in recent years.

When asked how much it would cost to deliver a 3% increase in order to match inflation, Mr Hunt said: 'Something of that order probably would cost a billion pounds. A serious amount of extra money.'

Mr Marr asked the health secretary if more money would be put into the health service to cover the pay increase or if the funds would be made from more cuts.

'I will be making a very robust case for the NHS to get the resources it needs, as I am sure other Cabinet ministers will for their departments.' he said.

'There is no doubt that we are going to need to find more money for the NHS in the years that come ahead.'

Mr Hunt announced earlier in October that the 1% pay cap had been scrapped, but at the time did not give any details as to the value of future nurse pay rises.

The health secretary was also asked for his reaction to a nurse who appeared on BBC's Newsnight programme, explaining the dire situation for nurses in the NHS. You can see his response below: