Special Brief: A pay rise for almost 900,000 public sector workers

Special Brief: A pay rise for almost 900,000 public sector workers

  • Recent months have underlined what we always knew – that our public sector workers make a vital contribution to our country and are always there for us to rely on when we need them.
  • Today, we’ve announced that almost 900,000 public sector workers, including doctors, teachers and police officers, will see above-inflation pay rises – for the third year in a row for the majority – reflecting their dedication, hard work and contribution to our country.
  • We will always stand squarely behind our public sector workers as they continue to keep us safe, better our communities, and look after those who need it.

This year’s pay awards reflect the enormous effort made by those in the public sector during the coronavirus outbreak…

  • NHS – doctors and dentists will receive a pay rise of 2.8 per cent. As part of a three-year pay deal reached in 2018, nurses who are still moving up their pay structures will receive an average 4.4 per cent rise this year. This year’s awards will benefit around 69,000 employees.
  • Teachers – will receive the largest pay rise, with salaries increasing by 3.1 per cent. This pay award is equivalent to a £1,250 increase to average classroom teacher pay.
  • Police officers – will receive a 2.5 per cent rise in pay. Police constables will earn up to £1,002 more this year. This comes as we’ve already recruited the first 3,005 officers as part of our plans to recruit 20,000 additional officers over the next three years.
  • Prison officers – will receive a 2.5 per cent pay rise. This pay award will benefit 11,655 fair and sustainable prison officers, and 6,152 closed grade prison officers.
  • Armed Forces – will receive a 2 per cent pay rise. This comes as 16,340 new recruits have joined the UK Regular Armed Forces over the last year, up 30 per cent compared with the previous 12 months. Since 2017, the Armed Forced have benefited from increases to pay of 7 per cent.
  • Meanwhile more than one million NHS workers including nurses, will continue to benefit from the three-year Agenda for Change pay deal struck separately in 2018, under which the starting salary for a new qualified nurse has increased by over 12 per cent since 2017-18.

We are conscious that public sector pay awards must deliver value for money for the taxpayer. The Chancellor has today launched the Comprehensive Spending Review, outlining that, in the interest of fairness we must exercise restraint in future public sector pay awards, ensuring that across this year and the Spending Review period, public sector pay levels retain parity with the private sector.

We are helping people with the cost of living…

  • Giving the largest ever cash boost to the National Living Wage in April – giving nearly 3 million workers a pay rise. In April, the NLW increased from £8.21 to £8.72, meaning low-paid workers received a boost of 6.2 per cent. A full time worker on the NLW will receive an increase of £930 this year as a result, and we will increase the NLW to £10.50, on current forecasts, by 2024 (HMT, Press release, 31 December 2019,). 
  • Raising the National Insurance threshold to £9,500 – saving people approximately £100. From April, the threshold increased to £9,500, benefiting 31 million works with a tax cut. We are committed to increasing the threshold to £12,500 (HMT, Budget 2020, 12 March 2020, ).
  • Frozen fuel duty for the tenth year in a row keeping more money in people’s pockets. We have frozen fuel duty for a tenth year in a row saving the average driver more than £1,200 over the last decade (HMT, Budget 2020, 12 March 2020,).
  • Freezing duty rates on beer, spirits, wine and cider helping with the cost of living. This will be only the second time in almost 20 years a government has frozen all these duties (HMT, Budget 2020, 12 March 2020, ).
  • Axing the tampon tax now we have left the EU. We will reduce the cost of essential sanitary products for women in the UK, abolishing the tampon tax from 1 January 2021 (HMT, Budget 2020, 12 March 2020, ).
  • Ending the public sector pay cap in 2017-18 – meaning this is the third above-inflation rise for public sector workers in a row. In light of our recovering public finances, the Conservative Government announced the end of the pay cap 2017 (Hansard, Written Ministerial Statement 127, 12 September 2017, ).

We are standing behind our public services throughout coronavirus…

  • Giving the NHS the funding it needs to tackle the virus, with more than £31.9 billion of support for health services. This includes over £15 billion for PPE procurement to protect frontline staff, £10 billion for our Test, Trace, Contain and Enable programme and a further £5.5 billion of spending on health services, including enhancing the NHS discharge service and delivering medicines to the vulnerable (HMT, A plan for jobs, 8 July 2020,).
  • Writing off over £13 billion of debt for NHS providers, freeing them up to investing in maintaining vital services. The changes will provide much needed financial support during this unprecedented viral pandemic, as well as laying secure foundations for the longer-term commitments set out last year to support the NHS to become more financially sustainable (DHSC, Press Release, 2 April 2020,).
  • Providing £4.3 billion to support local councils tackle coronavirus and support social care. We have provided £3.7 billion to councils to support local services as they see fit, plus an additional £600 million specifically to support social care providers (MHCLG, Press Release¸16 July 2020,).
  • Recruiting and retaining more teachers, so that the best talent is drawn into our schools. We are increasing the starting salary for teachers to £30,000 by 2022-23, an increase of up to £6,000. We have cut teacher workload by 5 hours a week over the past three years and there are 12,000 more teachers in schools than in 2010 (DfE, Press Release, 2 September 2019,; DfE, Press Release, 11 October 2019,).
  • Boosting funding in our primary and secondary schools by £14 billion over the next three years, so that every child can get a good education. We are increasing the schools budget by £2.6 billion in 2020-21, £4.8 billion in 2021-22 and £7.1 billion in 2022-23, compared to 2019-20. This will bring the schools budget up to a record £52.2 billion (HMT, Spending Round 2019, 4 September 2019,).
  • Boosting police funding by up to £1.1 billion this year, the biggest increase in a decade. The funding increase includes £150 million to fight organised crime and online child abuse, £39 million to tackle serious violence including cracking down on county lines drug dealing, and a £90 million increase for counter-terrorism policing to help protect our streets (Home Office, News Story, 22 January 2020,).
  • Providing over £280 million to support and modernise our criminal justice system, creating jobs. We will provide a new £142 million for digital upgrades and maintenance to around 100 courts this year, £83 million for maintenance of prisons and youth offender facilities, and £60 million for temporary prison places, creating thousands of new jobs (Prime Minister’s Office, Press Release, 30 June 2020,).