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The public sector pay cap has officially been lifted

The ‘hard cap’ on public sector pay has officially been lifted following today’s debate in the house of commons.

The government has confirmed that the ‘hard cap’ on public sector pay has officially been lifted and said there would be scope for more “flexibility” over public sector pay rises from 2018-19.

The non-binding motion, tabled by the Labour Party, passed uncontested after a 4-hour long debate.

Ministers will now await individual reports from independent pay review bodies, who look at issues like recruitment, retention and affordability before awarding any pay increases.

The next NHS Pay Review Body (NHSPRB) Report will be due in March 2018 and until that time the current Agenda for Change pay scales will remain in-force. 

In closing statements, Liz Truss, Chief Secretary to the Treasury, said;

“The government has announced that we are moving from a blanket approach of having a 1% public sector pay cap to greater flexibility in each workforce across the public sector.

“The Secretary of State for Health will submit evidence to the indepdent pay review body, they will look at issues like recruitment, retention and affordability and they will come back with a recommendation.

“We need to make sure pay is fair for those in the NHS but we need to make sure it is fair for the tax payers that fund those services”.

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) is disappointed that the pay cap hasn’t been removed with immediate effect and call for nurses to keep fighting until next years pay review body to recommend more than a 1 per cent rise.

In a statement, Janet Davies, Chief Executive and General Secretary of the Royal College of Nursing, said:

“The Government saw the strength of opposition and backed away to avoid defeat. Despite this, the pay cap sadly remains in place tonight. The Government failed to take the opportunity to scrap it explicitly.

“Ministers must listen to tens of thousands of nurses who are campaigning on this and put in writing that the cap no longer applies to NHS staff. Nursing staff will continue fighting until there is evidence that next year’s pay body can recommend more than a 1 per cent rise.

“Ministers are continuing to hold pay down, leaving professionals over £3,000 a year worse off. It drives nursing staff out of the NHS and patients pay the price.”

You can watch the full debate online.