The chancellor has announced that public sector workers, including GPs, will continue to receive a 1% pay rise over each of the next four years, although the BMA has said this amounts to a pay cut when inflation is taken into account.
In his Budget today, George Osborne said that there is a ‘simple trade-off between pay and jobs in many public services’ and, to make them affordable, he would continue to award below-inflation rises.
He also said that the NHS was the Government’s ‘priority’, and would increase NHS funding by a further £8bn in line with the Five Year Forward View set out by NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens.
The announcement follows pay rises of 1% since 2013, which itself followed two years of pay freezes for all public sector workers.
As a result, the Government’s evidence to the DDRB will advise them to award a 1% pay rise to GPs.
However, Pulse has revealed that previous DDRB pay awards intended to give GPs a 1% pay rise have in reality left them facing a pay decrease.
Mr Osborne said today: ‘There is a simple trade-off between pay and jobs in many public services.
‘We know there has been a period of pay restraint, but we said last autumn that we need to find commensurate savings in this Parliament so in order to ensure we have public services we can afford, and we can protect more jobs, we will continue recent public sector pay awards, with a rise of 1% over the next four years.’
He added that the Government’s priority was the NHS, and they planned to ‘fully fund’ the Stevens plan.
Mr Osborne said: ‘That plan requires very challenging efficiency savings across the health service, which must be found. It also requires additional Government funding. Out balanced approach means I can confirm today that the NHS will receive, in addition to the £2bn we have already received this year, a further £8bn.
‘That’s a further £10bn a year in real-terms by 2020. It is proof that you can only have a strong seven-day NHS if you have a strong economy, and it is proof that the NHS is only truly strong in Conservative hands.’
Dr Mark Porter, BMA chair, said: ‘The health secretary himself has admitted that continued pay restraint is unsustainable and the Chancellor’s cynical disregard for NHS staff is shown by this announcement of a pay freeze for another four years at a time when he knows that inflation will rise above that.’