Public sector pay ‘very likely’ to be frozen ‘at 1% for at least two years’

Figures suggest the most experienced frontline nurse have experienced a 20% real-terms pay cut over the past decade. 

Matt Bodell
9 November 2020
Stressed nurse

A pay cap would see frontline healthcare workers hit especially hard.

Public sector workers are “very likely” to have pay rises capped “at 1% for at least the next two years”, according to a source close to the issue.


An unnamed Westminster official speaking exclusively with NursingNotes said; “We are in a difficult position – the Government has to decide between pay rises for public sector workers or supporting the most vulnerable in society for the duration of the Coronavirus pandemic”.

The source continued; “I have seen plans that scope capping public sector pay rises at 1% for at least the next two years.” Adding; “Entering a second lockdown and extending the furlough scheme makes this very likely.”

A pay cap would see NHS workers hit especially hard after they were missed out of a pay deal for public sector workers earlier this year. 

Figures suggest the most experienced frontline nurses have experienced a 20% real-terms pay cut over the past decade.


The Chancellor has postponed the autumn budget due to the Coronavirus pandemic but it is widely expected that Rishi Sunak will reveal his spending plans later this month.

An insult.

The Royal College of Nursing alongside Unite and GMB have spent the past few months calling for a 12-15% rise for their members. 

Anthony Johnson, the lead organiser for the grassroots group Nurses United UK, said; “No matter our colour, age or role, we all want our families to be happy and healthy.

“This Government has rigged the system by giving billions to corporations like Serco who can’t even run a track and trace system whilst we are still struggling to staff our normal hospitals let alone the Nightingales.


“Pay impacts staffing. It’s that simple. 10 years ago we were paid a wage which kept our NHS safe and now, because this Government isn’t interested in safety, we have 100,000 vacancies across the service.

“1% is an insult and Nurses United is here and ready to re-write the rules and continue to build the movement for a 15% pay rise and a safe health service.”

The Department for Health and Social Care and the Her Majesty’s Treasury both told NursingNotes that they did not wish to comment on any future pay plans.

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