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Nurses pay restricted to 1% rises, to save government money

NHS nurses pay will continued to be restrained, in order to save the government around £5 billion by 2019/20 and “protect jobs” chancellor George Osborne announced at the summer Budget.

Nurses will see annual salary rises of 1% for the next four years, Osborne announced as he revealed the government's financial plans.

The national minimum wage for those over 25 is due to increase to £7.20 an hour in 2016 and £9 an hour by 2020, in a bid to create a “national living wage.”

Osborne said: “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.”

“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 Osborne.

He also said that the NHS is a “priority” for the government and that in total the NHS would be given £10bn a year by 2020, which is £8bn the government promised before the election, and the extra £2bn already promised for the NHS budget this year.

However, responding to the Budget, Dr Peter Carter, chief executive and general secretary of the RCN said: “Nurses are already feeling the effect of what will now be a decade of severe pay restraint and subsequent reduced living standards. 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 Pay Review Body that makes recommendations about NHS pay awards - until the Chancellor spoke today, nursing staff were totally unaware that this was disappearing. The consequences of the Treasury's pay decision will be serious for nurses and patients alike,” he said.