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GP pay freezes ‘unsustainable’, warns research

By Gareth Iacobucci

Future GP pay freezes may not be sustainable in view of rising inflation and easing pressure on wages in private firms, according to a new report.

The study by the Labour Research Department (LRD) suggests that average settlements in the private sector are going up while pay freezes continue to fall, which may mark it hard for the new Government to justify or sustain public sector pay curbs.

The research shows that fewer than one in five recent deals in private firms involved a pay freeze, with a quarter worth at least 3%.

It also highlighted that around 1.6 million local government employees faced wage restraints, while the main political parties were planning to impose further freezes on public sector pay.

The research comes after the current Government froze GP pay for this year, with the Conservatives pledging to freeze GP pay for a further year from 2011, if they are in government.

Lewis Emery, pay and conditions researcher at LRD, said: ‘While we may not have seen the back of pay freezes just yet, there is likely to be greater pressure on all employers to settle for a positive increase as pay medians begin to rise.'

‘Public sector unions are already very unhappy about plans to hold down wages. With the rise in inflation, and pressure from comparisons with the private sector, it may be hard for whichever party is in government after the election to keep the lid on public sector pay.'

Future GP pay freezes may not be sustainable, according to a new report Future GP pay freezes may not be sustainable, according to a new report