Pay cap to be lifted in Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon confirms

The Scottish First Minister has committed to lifting the 1% public sector pay cap in Scotland from next year.

Scotland's first minister Nicola Sturgeon has committed to scrapping the 1% pay cap for nurses and other public sector workers in Scotland from next year

Ms Sturgeon made the announcement today in a speech to MSPs on the return to Holyrood following the summer recess.

It comes less than 24 hours ahead of 2,000 nurses descending on Parliament Square in London, for the biggest rally yet of the RCN's Scrap the cap campaign.


Nicola Sturgeon
Scottish first minister Nicola Sturgeon said that further details on the lifting of the
1% public sector pay cap would be revealed in the Scottish budget. Picture: Getty

Ms Sturgeon said: 'I can confirm that we will lift the 1% public sector pay cap.

'The pay cap while never desirable was necessary to protect jobs and services. However, with inflation on the rise it is not sustainable. Our nurses, teachers, police officers and firefighters deserve a fairer deal for the future. Indeed the need to recruit the staff that our public services depend on also demands a new approach.

'We will therefore aim to secure pay rises from next year that are affordable, but which also reflect the real life circumstances our public servants face and the contribution our public services make to the overall prosperity of our country.'

She said further details would be revealed in the Scottish budget later in the year.

All-time high vacancies

Her commitment to lifting the public sector pay cap was just one of a number of new pledges, which prompted Scottish Conservatives' leader Ruth Davidson to remark: 'The government should know this. It is on probation with the people of Scotland.'

The RCN estimates nurses have lost 14% in real terms pay since 2010.

New data from the Information Services Division Scotland published today also revealed that in June nurse vacancies stood at an all-time high, with one in 20 nursing and midwifery posts in NHS Scotland unfilled.

Significant challenges

RCN Scotland director Theresa Fyffe said: 'It is of course good news that the Scottish Government has said they will scrap the cap on public sector pay.

'Pay is a way in which governments can reflect the value they place on nursing. Getting pay right will help to tackle the significant challenges which Scotland is facing around the recruitment and retention of nursing staff.

'However we know that the affordability of any pay increase in Scotland is compromised if the UK government do not scrap the cap and this is why nursing staff from across Scotland will join thousands of their colleagues demonstrating outside Westminster tomorrow to call for fair pay across the UK.'

All four nations of the United Kingdom have a pay cap in place, although there have been rumours circulating that the Westminster government could also be considering dropping the pay cap.

A spokesperson for Theresa May yesterday refused to confirm or deny a story in the Sun newspaper that the prime minister intended to scrap the pay cap.

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