Public sector pay: What rise will teachers, armed forces, NHS staff, and police get?

ITV News Political Reporter Shehab Khan reports on the government announcing pay rises for millions of public sector workers as inflation squeezes households amid the cost-of-living crisis

Unions are furious after hundreds of thousands of public sector workers were offered a pay increase which fails to keep up with the crippling cost of living.

Inflation is running at just over 9% and expected to rise further but most employed in the public sector will receive an increase well below that rate.

The government's offer is being described as a real terms pay cut, given how much more expensive products and services have become following the Covid pandemic and amid the war in Ukraine.

Setting pay awards for 2.5 million public sector workers is one of the very last policy decisions left to Boris Johnson's government, before he steps down as PM in early September.

Some pay increases apply to just England and Wales and others are set by ministers in devolved administrations.

  • Police

All officers in England and Wales will receive a £1,900 salary uplift from September 1 - equivalent to a 5% overall pay award, the Home Office said.

It works at around an extra £36 per week.

Home Secretary Priti Patel said: “I am pleased to be able to accept the pay review body recommendations in full so that all police officers see a £1,900 salary uplift.

“It is right that we recognise the extraordinary work of our officers who day in, day out, work tirelessly to keep our streets, communities and country safe.”

  • NHS staff

Eligible Doctors and dentists will receive a 4.5% pay rise.

Most nurses will get an increase of around 3.7% while basic pay for newly qualified nurses will rise by 5.5%.

The lowest earners such as porters and cleaners will get a 9.3% increase. Those workers will see a weekly rise of around £27.

Pay awards mean over one million NHS staff will get a pay rise of at least £1,400, the Department for Health and Social Care said.

Unison general secretary Christina McAnea said: “Ministers seem intent on running down the NHS, showing scant regard for the millions of people languishing on waiting lists for tests and treatment.

“Rather than save the NHS with proper investment in staff and services, those vying to be the next prime minister want to keep back the cash for pre-election tax cuts.

“Fed-up staff might well now decide to take the matter into their own hands.

“If there is to be a dispute in the NHS, ministers will have no one to blame but themselves.”

The Government said it had accepted recommendations from the independent NHS pay review bodies in full, adding that the pay rise recognises the contribution of NHS staff while balancing the need to protect taxpayers, manage public spending and not drive up inflation.

  • Teachers

Experienced teachers will get a 5% pay award and new teachers starting their career will get an extra 8.9% from September.

Those getting an extra 5% will see another £40 in their pay packet per week on average.

Education Secretary James Cleverly said: “Teachers are the fabric of our school system and it is their dedication and skill that ensures young people can leave school with the knowledge and opportunities they need to get on in life.

“We are delivering significant pay increases for all teachers despite the present economic challenges, pushing teacher starting salaries up towards the £30,000 milestone and giving experienced teachers the biggest pay rise in a generation.

"This will attract even more top-quality talent to inspire children and young people and reward teachers for their hard work.”

Both the NASUWT and NEU teaching unions, which have threatened strikes in autumn over pay, have said the proposed increase of 5% for more experienced staff is too low.

  • Armed Forces

Those employed in the armed forces, which includes the Army, Navy and Air Force, will get an extra 3.75% up to the rank of 1-star.

Officers ranked 2-star and above will get 3.5.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said: "This pay award supports wider recruitment and retention and addresses the requirements of smaller but highly skilled Armed Forces whilst recognising affordability."

  • Prison staff

All prison staff will receive a pay award of at least 4%, Justice Secretary Dominic Raab said.

Explaining the pay increase being below inflation, Mr Raab said: "Pay awards this year strike a careful balance between recognising the vital importance of public sector workers, whilst delivering value for the taxpayer, not increasing the country’s debt further, and being careful not to drive even higher prices in the future."

Will there be more public sector strikes?

Unions had been demanding that the pay offer keep in line with inflation, which is rising at the fastest rate in 40 years.

The current rate is 9.1% and is forecast by the Bank of England to reach 11% before the end of the year.

Unions representing teachers, nurses and doctors have already threatened to strike if pay awards do not keep up with inflation.

The National Education Union has said it will now consult its members on strike action in the autumn and NASUWT previously said it would hold a national strike ballot if the government fails to "deliver pay restoration for teachers".

Mary Bousted, joint general secretary of the NEU teaching union, previously said a 5% rise for more experienced staff would be "unacceptable".

Laurence Turner, of the GMB union said: “An offer below inflation is a cut by another name.

“Recruitment and retention problems are now severe across the public sector and ministers are failing to invest in the services that the economic recovery needs.”

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham added: “The Government promised rewards for the dedication of the public sector workforce during the pandemic. What they have delivered instead, in real terms, is a kick in the teeth.

“The so-called wage offer amounts to a massive national pay cut.

“We expected the inevitable betrayal, but the scale of it is an affront.”

And the upcoming election of a new prime minister, via the Tory leadership race, is unlikely to allay pay concerns in the public sector.

All those remaining in the contest - Liz Truss, Rishi Sunak and Penny Mordaunt - have ruled out across-the-board above-inflation pay rises if they become leader.

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