The NHS recognises that its staff are its "greatest asset, but "cannot afford" a general payrise in a time of "severe funding restraint" a Department of Health spokesperson has said.
"That's why at a time of severe funding restraint we have been clear that they should receive at least 1% additional pay this year and next.
We cannot afford a general pay rise on top of incremental pay increases of up to 6% without risking frontline jobs and safe staffing levels.
We are disappointed that the unions rejected our offer to discuss any alternative proposals on pay, within an available budget of nearly £1 billion."
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