Will Labour increase NHS pay?

Posted by: admin - Posted on:

With a general election fast approaching in July 2024, many NHS staff will be considering whether a Labour government might be more likely to increase pay than the current Conservative government.

Labour have historically invested more in public services, including the NHS. For example, during the first years of Labour power after they were elected in 1997, year-on-year NHS spending grew by more than 5%. In contrast, recent spending on the NHS under Conservative control has grown between about 0.2% and 2.5% year-on-year.

This higher level of Labour spending has also historically applied to NHS pay. In 1997, after coming to power, Labour announced a pay rise of 14% for nurses, and this was followed by inflation-matching or above-inflation pay rises during most of the rest of their time in power. In the longer-term, we would expect a Labour government (if elected) would probably be significantly more generous with NHS pay rises than the current Conservative government.

Will Labour increase NHS pay for 2024/25?

Despite being more open to public sector pay rises in general, we don’t expect a significant increase in NHS pay immediately if Labour are elected. Unlike some other parts of the public sector (such as social care or teaching), we haven’t seen much mention of NHS pay directly in Labour election communications so far.

We’d expect any pay rise for 2024/25 under a Labour government to be broadly aligned with the 3-3.5% prediction that we explain elsewhere on our website. This is because there simply isn’t a lot of spare money available for any larger pay rise; changes to taxes to increase public spending would take time to implement and Labour have committed not to use increased public borrowing to fund any spending on public services. Labour will also have to bear in mind the NHS Pay Review Body’s recommendations – a body originally commissioned by the Conservative government.

With that being said, we would be much more optimistic about a larger pay rise for 2025/26 if Labour did come to power. We would expect this to be particularly focused on improving pay for staff on lower pay bands such as Band 2 and Band 3 of Agenda for Change. Alternatively, Labour might choose to reform NHS pay. Reforms could include:

  • Changes to pay progression (for example removing progression or adding more step points within bands)
  • Changes to the High Cost Area Supplement or “London weighting” calculation, or making other areas eligible for additional payments
  • Replacing Agenda for Change with a new pay system entirely, or removing some groups (such as nurses) from Agenda for Change
  • Changing how the NHS Pay Review Body operates

What would you like to see change for NHS staff under a Labour government?

4 replies on “Will Labour increase NHS pay?”

  • As nepotism increases within the ranks of managerial posts i believe a freeze on there pay for 2 years could then be invested into Band 2 and 3 pay rises who i believe are the main WORKERS, without us wards would have closed. Porters, cleaners, distribution and logistics to name but a few who worked long hours during COVID suppling PPE to hospitals, wards, theatres. cleaners who kept the floors walls free from the spread of COVID, clapping was meaningless if were not appreciated by politicians.

    • I agree. But so do us band 5 nurses who trained during Covid – working for free during the height of the pandemic, sometimes when paid staff wouldn’t.

    • Hi Paul, without some of those managers the band 2 and 3 workers would not be in post. There are so, so many things which you may take for granted as a band 2 and 3 worker – things that you probably aren’t aware exist or need to be done. These things are essential for keeping hospitals open, safe and efficient. Some examples to name a few: governance, regulatory compliance, budget control, service development, HR support.

      That being said, I agree that the band 2 and 3 workers deserve a pay rise for the hard work they do. Everyone should be paid fairly – it shouldn’t be about freezing the opportunities of others or creating divisiveness in the process.

      We are all “main workers”.

  • During vovid every one really struggled, it’s not just about working During covid but the wearing of PPE in hot conditions made worse by full PPE. Buses rental health suffered tremendously, along with other nhs employees who was fearful of getting and passing in on. Band 2, which is what I am like porters, domestics, kitchen and medical secretary’s, estates all work incredibly hard putting heart and sole, but we feel devuled, ignored, no availablelity to progress, treated as if we don’t count and what we do doesn’t matter, unfortunately in the nhs the more you give the moreish taken, until you burn out.they say everyone counts but when doctors let the door slam on you, that’s not how it feels saying that, there’s hundreds of amazing , thoughtful and generous nhs workers, in our trust and we do our best to support each other. My pay packet is gone within 3 days, and I can’t afford to stay living in the area as rents are so high , do I have to go yo a more poverty filled area. Just to make ends meet, or go work gor sainsbury as they pay more. Like many nhs workers that are leaving gor better pay, better work life balance and less stress.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *