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22 July 2021

NHS nurses’ pay is still 5 per cent lower than in 2010

The government’s offer of a 3 per cent pay rise for NHS staff won’t compensate for the era of austerity.

By Polly Bindman

Nurses’ pay is 5 per cent lower now than it was in 2010, when adjusted for inflation.

This analysis by the Nuffield Trust of NHS data provides important context following the UK government’s announcement that NHS nurses in England will receive a 3 per cent pay rise.

Nurses’ pay remains 5 per cent lower than in 2010 as pay rise is announced
Real-terms NHS staff pay percentage change from 2010-2020 as of April 2021
Nuffield Trust analysis of NHS Digital data, adjusted for inflation using the ONS' Consumer Price Index

The 3 per cent figure is three times the government’s initial offering of a 1 per cent pay rise. But health unions have criticised the new figure as “grossly” inadequate, noting that, owing to potential inflation of 3.7 per cent, nurses could endure a real-terms pay cut of around £200. 

Suggestions that the pay increase could be funded with a National Insurance rise has further angered critics, since the tax falls on working people, including NHS staff.

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