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Government hints at less than 1 per cent pay rise

BMa council chair Mark Porter at the BMA ARM 2015

Some public sector staff may receive less than a 1 per cent pay rise in a move labelled a ‘disgraceful act of bad faith’ by the BMA.

The Government announced in July’s Budget that public sector pay rises — including those for doctors — would be capped at 1 per cent a year until 2020.

However, in a letter to the pay review bodies dated last week, chief secretary to the Treasury Greg Hands says ‘some workers could receive more than 1 per cent while others could receive less’.

The pay review bodies have been instructed to receive evidence from Government departments on the needs of their workforces.

BMA council chair Mark Porter condemned the move, saying it would further demoralise staff who were already bearing the brunt of funding cuts in recent years.

‘For many doctors this may mean another cut in pay, which is lower in real terms than it was a decade ago.

'This constant chipping away at pay at a time when frontline NHS staff are working harder than ever to keep up with rising demand on the health service leaves staff feeling devalued and demoralised,’ he said.

‘This disgraceful act of bad faith totally undermines what are supposed to be independent pay review processes, but which the Government simply chooses to ignore when it suits them.’

 

Above inflation

This year, the Government asked the Doctors and Dentists Review Body only to make pay recommendations for doctors in Scotland and UK GPs.

The BMA still submitted evidence to the review body calling for an above-inflation pay rise for all doctors to reverse years of decline.

However, the DDRB only made recommendations for those doctors for which it was instructed.

In July, the Government announced in its Budget a capped public sector rise of 1 per cent per year from the 2016/17 financial year until 2020.

In his letter published on the UK Government website, Mr Hands says these awards should be applied in a ‘targeted manner’ to support the delivery of public services and address recruitment and retention issues, and should not be universally applied.

He adds that the secretaries of state would write to the relevant review bodies with a detailed remit.

Read Mr Hands's letter

Find out more about the pay review