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NHS nurse pay: claim that 1% deal would be inflation-busting is dismissed by economist

Expert calls health and social care secretary’s comments to MPs ‘not sensible’
health and care secretary Matt Hancock gives evidence on NHS pay to the Commons health and care committee

Economist calls health and social care secretarys comments to MPs not sensible, while RCN says Matt Hancock is defending the indefensible

Health and social care secretary Matt Hancock insists a 1% NHS pay deal would represent a real-terms pay rise despite predictions it would be outstripped by inflation.

An economist described the ministers comments to MPs as not sensible and the RCN accused Mr Hancock of defending the indefensible.

Matt Hancocks comments on NHS pay to committee of MPs

The secretary of state gave evidence to the Commons health and social care committee on 16 March about the governments heavily criticised suggestion

Economist calls health and social care secretary’s comments to MPs ‘not sensible’, while RCN says Matt Hancock is ‘defending the indefensible’

health and social care secretary Matt Hancock gives evidence on NHS pay to the Commons select committee
Health secretary Matt Hancock, giving evidence to the Commons health and social care committee

Health and social care secretary Matt Hancock insists a 1% NHS pay deal would represent a ‘real-terms’ pay rise – despite predictions it would be outstripped by inflation.

An economist described the minister’s comments to MPs as ‘not sensible’ and the RCN accused Mr Hancock of defending the indefensible.

Matt Hancock’s comments on NHS pay to committee of MPs

The secretary of state gave evidence to the Commons health and social care committee on 16 March about the government’s heavily criticised suggestion NHS Agenda for Change staff should receive a pay rise of just 1% in the 2021/22 pay round.

He told the MPs: ‘Inflation is below 1% and therefore a proposed 1% pay rise is indeed a pay rise and that is simply a matter of fact.’

However, inflation is now running at 0.9% and the Office for Budget Responsibility is forecasting it will rise to between 1.5% and 1.8% in 2021/22.

Health secretary’s reasoning ‘not sensible’, says economist

Economist Gavan Conlon, a partner at economics consultancy London Economics, said: ‘When assessing whether the proposed pay increase represents a real-terms increase or cut, it is not sensible to compare a cash increase in 2021 with a measure of inflation in 2020. The proposed 1% pay increase in cash terms represents a real-terms reduction of 0.5%.’

An RCN spokesperson said: ‘The government is digging in, despite public anger and clear support for NHS staff.’

Formal pay proposal expected in May

The government insists 1% for the NHS is all it can afford. But nurses will have to wait until the summer to find out what pay rise will finally be offered.

The independent NHS Pay Review Body is not expected to make formal recommendations to ministers until May.


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