IPPR analysis reveals nurses’ pay still not caught up with inflation since 2011 public sector pay freeze
Today the government has announced that nurses and many other NHS workers will not be included in the new public sector pay rise, despite their work on the Covid-19 frontline. This means nurses’ pay – as well as pay of other workers like midwives, healthcare assistants and paramedics – will still be impacted by the public sector pay freeze introduced in 2011/12.
The public sector pay freeze policy meant real term salaries for many NHS staff was cut, as it failed to keep up with inflation. A new pay deal in 2018 increased it by an average of 6.5 per cent over three years for most NHS staff. However, new IPPR analysis shows that real-terms pay for health workers still lags far behind pre-austerity levels:
- The pay of the average band 5 nurse will be £27,416 in 2020/21. This represents a real terms pay cut of almost £2,500 compared with the rate of inflation since 2011 (an estimated 9 per cent cut).
- The pay of an average band 6 nurse or midwife will be £33,176 in 2020/21. This represents a real terms pay cut of over £2,500 compared with the rate of inflation since 2011 (an estimated 8 per cent cut).
Social care staff are also set to miss out from the government’s announcement. IPPR research from 2018 showed that nearly half of all jobs in social care are paid below the real living wage – nearly twice as many as in the economy as a whole.
IPPR has called on government to put guarantees in place for pay in health and care. In the April report Care Fit for Carers, we called for all healthcare staff to receive a 10 per cent pay increase (a Covid-19 pay bonus); for more adequate sick pay provision; and for social care workers to be paid in parity with NHS workers.
In response to government’s announcement, Chris Thomas, IPPR senior research fellow said:
“For seven austere years, the public sector pay freeze was a dereliction of duty by government. It has directly contributed to the workforce crisis we see in health and care today.
“Today was an opportunity to correct that failing and open pay negotiations across the NHS. It is unforgivable that after the remarkable bravery of all our healthcare heroes they would not receive fair pay. We urge the government to reconsider their exclusion.”