The Government has announced that almost 1.4 million public sector employees will receive a 1% pay rise from next month.
The Treasury said recommendations from a number of pay review bodies had been accepted, sparking anger from unions.
Unison, which represents 450,000 NHS workers including nurses, paramedics, therapists and midwives, said staff face another year of financial hardship.
The union condemned the second successive 1% annual increase as a "squeeze" on pay, which officials warned would leave many health workers and their families struggling to make ends meet.
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"Our ability to pre-empt or respond to threats will be eroded if we don't keep up with our adversaries."
"You are one of the silence breakers and we all owe you a debt of gratitude."