Years of austerity sees NHS workers up to 32% worse-off than ten years ago, new data reveals

London Economics carried out an in-depth analysis of the Agenda for Change (AfC).

Ian Snug
24 March 2021
Nurse wearing PPE

Across all pay grades and spine points, salaries fell in real-terms.

Years of austerity means that NHS workers have been subjected to up to a 32% real-terms pay cut over the past decade, new economic data has revealed.

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London Economics carried out an in-depth analysis of the Agenda for Change (AfC) framework under which most NHS staff are paid.

The analysis comes as MPs are set to debate NHS pay in Parliament following extensive criticism of the Government’s proposed 1% pay rise this year.

Across all pay grades and spine points, salaries fell in real-terms over the last decade when adjusted for inflation – by as much as 32% in one case.

The new figures reveal that a newly qualified staff nurse (Band 5) has experienced an 11% real-terms pay cut, while the most experienced staff nurse saw a cut of 17%.

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Senior ward staff or specialist nurses at Band 6 were hit the worst with a massive real-terms loss of 32%.

Claims of a rise are “inaccurate”.

Dr Gavan Conlon, a Partner at London Economics’ and one of the report’s authors said: “Our analysis makes clear the impact that years of economic austerity have had on NHS pay.”

“Any suggestion that nursing staff’s salaries have increased in recent years is inaccurate – they haven’t. Salaries in none of the Agenda for Change pay spine-points increased over the last 10 years once inflation is factored in”.

“On paper, people’s salaries may have gone up in cash terms, but the reality is that their pay buys them less than it did a decade ago.”

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Dr Conlon clarified further that only those NHS staff who have moved up a pay grade may have a real-terms pay rise and warned that many NHS workers risk “stagnation”.

He said;  “many NHS staff – around 40% – were ‘stuck’ at the top of their pay band irrespective of their performance or competence”.

“For those staff stuck at the top of their Band, there’s every chance they will have had a substantial real-terms pay cut over the last decade,” he added.

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