Government finally announces NHS pay award

The Independent Pay Review Body (IPRB) recommendation to increase Agenda for Change pay rates by 3% backdated to 1 April is accepted in full by the UK government. The increase applies to NHS employees in England and is likely to be replicated by the devolved administrations in Northern Ireland and Wales.

Wed 21st July 2021 The PDA

The Independent Pay Review Body (IPRB) recommendation to increase Agenda for Change pay rates by 3% backdated to 1 April is accepted in full by the government. The increase applies to NHS employees in England and is likely to be replicated by the devolved administrations in Northern Ireland and Wales.  The Scottish Government already agreed a 4% increase for most employees, but lower for those on band 8a and above, backdated to 1 December 2020.

After months of delay the Secretary of State for Health has today announced to Parliament that the Government has accepted the recommendation of the IPRB and will agree to increase NHS pay rates by 3%.

After a day of confusion (21 July), with an expected announcement in Parliament postponed at the last minute, and then an announcement just as the 6pm news bulletins were starting, this increase marks a definite change in policy for the Government.

Initially they had advised the IPRB that it could not afford anything more than a 1% pay increase for NHS employees. Yesterday (20 July), the Government clearly briefed media outlets that todays announcement would be a 1.5% pay increase plus a one off non consolidated lump sum of 1.5% of salary. It was this offer that was withdrawn at the last moment leaving MPs and the media asking what had happened to the announcement on pay.

It is clear now that following widespread criticism of this by trade unions, including the PDA Union, Government has revised its position yet again, at the 11th hour, and made an award of a 3% increase to pay rates. This award that is now worth three times the original cap the government oririginally announced for this year’s on NHS pay increases.

It is understood that the detailed report of the IPRB will be laid before Parliament at 9.30am tomorrow morning (22nd July) and, in view of the confusion today, the PDA Union will be checking that the Government has implemented in full the recommendations on pay as soon as we are able to do so.

Paul Moloney, PDA Union National Officer, commented “It is unfortunate that it has taken so long for the Government to announce this increase which was due in April this year. Although the award will be backdated it is understandable that people will compare it to todays’ inflation figures of around 3.9% and not the figure back in March of 0.7% which is the appropriate benchmark. Had the 3% increase to Agenda for Change pay rates been paid on time, it could fairly have been described as an increase significantly above inflation, which has been the long term objective of all health service unions, including ourselves“.

Health service unions will now be consulting their members on the increase. There has not been a consistent position adopted by unions on NHS pay with a minority calling for increases above 12%. Nevertheless, a 4% increase awarded to NHS Scotland employees below Band 8a with 2% or lower for those on Bands 8 and 9 was accepted by 12 of the 14 unions members and therefore implemented.

Paul continued “To inform our response to the increase we are asking members employed under Agenda for Change terms and conditions in England, Wales and Northern Ireland to let us have their views on the award. We also have a number of members working in organisations directly linked to the NHS, including Wholly Owned NHS subsidiaries, who are likely to be offered the NHS increase by their employers. Their views are also welcome“.

Members are therefore invited to let us have their views on whether or not the award is acceptable by emailing paul.moloney@the-pda.org direct with any comments.

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