Government says 3 per cent pay rise will come out of NHS budget

22 July 2021, 19:29

Boris Johnson claps for the NHS in the first national lockdown in 2020
Boris Johnson claps for the NHS in the first national lockdown in 2020. Picture: Alamy

By Daisy Stephens

The Government has confirmed that there will be no new money to fund the 3 per cent pay rise for NHS staff in England.

No 10 said the rise - thought to cost £2.2 billion - would come out of the health service's existing budget.

"The pay uplift will be funded from within the NHS budget but we are very clear that it will not impact funding already earmarked for the NHS front line," said a spokesman for the Prime Minister.

"You will already know that we gave the NHS a historical settlement in 2018, which saw its budget rise by £33.9 billion by 2023/24 and we've provided £92 billion to support the NHS and social care throughout the pandemic."

In response to the announcement, general secretary and chief executive of the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) Pat Cullen said: "This pay announcement is fast unravelling.

"Not only is the figure scandalously low, but Downing Street has been forced to admit that the money isn't new either.

"It is brutally unfair to force the NHS to do yet more with the same money.

Read more: 'Pingdemic': Shoppers warned not to panic buy as some shelves lie empty

Read more: Sadiq Khan: London's 999 workers, food supply and TfL staff must be exempt from 'pings'

"Ministers must be honest about the impact this would have on patient care.

"The Government is failing to give the NHS the money it truly needs. This current game of smoke and mirrors is dangerous for patients and nursing staff who care for them."

It comes as the Speaker of the House of Commons, Sir Lindsay Hoyle, reprimanded the Government on Thursday over its handling of the pay announcement.

Health minister Helen Whately made no mention of pay during her initial speech to the House of Commons on Wednesday, attracting much criticism, and would only say the Government was still "seriously considering" the issue.

Just a few hours later a press release was put out by the Department of Health.

Read more: Police Federation says it 'no longer has confidence' in Home Secretary Priti Patel

Read more: London hospitals warned there could be 1,500 coronavirus patients by mid-August

Sir Lindsay told the Commons: "I was far from happy that yesterday the House heard from a health minister giving us an NHS update with no mention at all of the pay deal for NHS, a point of great political interest.

"I find it hard to believe that any negotiations were still going beyond that time. I'd urge the Government again to ensure the House is the first, not the last, to know."

Vaccines minister Nadhim Zahawi apologised for what happened, telling the Commons: "Can I offer the apology of the Secretary State and the Department of Health on the inability of the department to make a statement on the acceptance of the independent pay review body."