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Further pay boost for nurses in Scotland, as government announces interim rise

Increase intended as stopgap, with Agenda for Change pay negotiations delayed

Increase intended as stopgap, with Agenda for Change pay negotiations delayed

Nurses in Scotland are to receive an interim pay rise to compensate for the delay in negotiations for the 2021-22 pay deal.

The 1% pay rise applies to all 154,000 healthcare staff on Agenda for Change contracts in Scotland and is being backdated to 1 December 2020.

Support for staff regardless of UK budget delay

Staff will see the increase in their March salaries. It is in addition to the one-off 500 COVID-19 thank you bonus paid out to NHS and social care staff in Scotland in February.

Talks for the 2021-22 UK pay round have been delayed until later this year,

Increase intended as stopgap, with Agenda for Change pay negotiations delayed

Illustration showing pound coins, a 1% sign, and an arrow pointing upwards, indicating the interim pay increase for nurses in Scotland
Picture: iStock

Nurses in Scotland are to receive an interim pay rise to compensate for the delay in negotiations for the 2021-22 pay deal.

The 1% pay rise applies to all 154,000 healthcare staff on Agenda for Change contracts in Scotland and is being backdated to 1 December 2020.

Support for staff ‘regardless of UK budget delay’

Staff will see the increase in their March salaries. It is in addition to the one-off £500 COVID-19 ‘thank you’ bonus paid out to NHS and social care staff in Scotland in February.

Talks for the 2021-22 UK pay round have been delayed until later this year, after the UK government cancelled its autumn 2020 budget and replaced it with a spending review, due to the pandemic.

Scotland health secretary Jeane Freeman said the government decided to give an interim pay rise because of the resulting delay to the Scottish spending review.

But RCN Scotland, which is calling for a 12.5% pay rise for nursing staff, said the unexpected announcement had been 'imposed rather than negotiated' and urged the government to open meaningful negotiations now.

RCN Scotland director Susan Aitkenhead said: 'Our members will be angry and disappointed that the Scottish Government is not willing to do more to value the skills and expertise of the nursing profession. They will not understand why they have to wait until the summer for negotiations to commence.

'This is not the substantive pay award our members are looking for and does not recognise their contribution.'

Jeane Freeman, Scotland's health secretary
Health secretary Jeane Freeman: ‘This should make clear that we want to support our staff’ Picture: Mike Wilkinson

Annoucing the interim pay rise, Ms Freeman said the government wanted to agree full pay settlement negotiations 'as soon as possible.‘

‘This interim step, alongside the one-off £500 bonus, should make clear that we want to support our staff regardless of the impact of the UK government’s delay to the budget,' she added.

Any pay rise agreed for Scotland will also be backdated

In addition, the Scottish Government announced that the final pay rise negotiated for staff will also be backdated to 1 December 2020, instead of the standard starting date, which would have been 1 April 2021.

A final deal is likely to be agreed by summer at the earliest, as the NHS Pay Review Body, which advises government on pay for staff, has been asked to wait until May to report back with its recommendations.

Scotland, like the other devolved nations, usually waits for pay negotiations to be concluded in England before deciding on its own pay awards, with funding for wage increases then distributed via a formula used by UK Treasury.


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