The government Spending Review announcement has confirmed that the normal annual pay review body process will continue for the NHS.
However, the announcement to freeze pay rounds – and cut wages in real terms – in other parts of the public sector workforce is short-sighted and counter-productive, damaging Britain’s overall economic recovery prospects and exacerbating the very causes of ill-health that the health service is such a key part of countering.
While the health sector has played a particular role during Covid, it has been far from alone, working closely alongside, and relying on, every other public service.
The real-terms value of public sector pay plummeted in the decade after the 2008 financial crisis, reducing spending in the UK economy and contributing to severe workforce shortages, many of which remain today.
The NHS Pay Review Body process confirmed in the Spending Review is already months behind schedule. We are calling on the government to ensure there are no further delays. The NHS PRB must be allowed to exercise its independence and its recommendations must be implemented and funded in full.
Responding to the Spending Review, Claire Sullivan, CSP director of employment relations and union services said: ‘This has been an unprecedented year and one that continues to demand an unprecedented response.
Strong staffing levels and fair pay across the public sector are essential elements of this and of the long process of economic recovery ahead.
This health emergency is not over, but a re-imposition of austerity and the consequent loss of earnings capacity, ill-health and disability risks stretching the NHS to breaking point.’
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