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Almost 85% Of People Want Public Sector Pay Cap Scrapped

Thursday, September 28, 2017


The public recognise that public service workers undertaking particularly traumatic roles, involving tragedies like the Grenfell Tower, deserve a significant pay rise.

Almost 85% of the public want to see an end to the public sector pay cap, according to poll commissioned by GMB and 13 other NHS Unions. [1]

The survey of more than 2,000 people by ComRes asked if they supported removal of the cap on pay for NHS staff.

A large majority (84%) supported scrapping the cap. More than four in five (83%) support an above-inflation pay increase for all NHS staff.

The RPI measure of inflation recently hit a high of 3.9% per cent.

In response the NHS unions called for a 3.9% pay award for NHS staff in line with RPI. NHS unions are also calling for an additional £800 to restore some of the pay lost by NHS staff over the past seven years – a measure 69% of those surveyed supported.

More than three quarters of the public (77%) also thought that low pay was one of the reasons for many staff leaving the NHS.

A similar proportion (74%) thought that low pay was also a factor in young people not choosing careers in the NHS.

Kevin Brandstatter, GMB National Officer, said:

"The findings of the ComRes survey are welcome and confirm the outcome of GMB polling earlier this year. [3]

“The public regard the NHS as the ‘Jewel in the Crown’ of public services.

“Seven years of pay freeze and pay cap have cost GMB members thousands of pounds.

“The public recognise that public service workers undertaking particularly traumatic roles, involving tragedies like the Grenfell Tower, deserve a significant pay rise.

“It’s time the Government recognised this too and fully funded the trade unions pay claim."


Contact: GMB Press Office on 07958 156846 or at

Notes to editors

[1] The 14 NHS unions are GMB, British Association of Dietitians, British Association of Occupational Therapists, British and Irish Orthoptic Society, Chartered Society of Physiotherapists, Federation of Clinical Scientists, Managers in Partnership, POA (union for prison, correctional and secure psychiatric workers), Royal College of Midwives, Royal College of Nursing, Society of Chiropodists and Podiatrists, Society of Radiographers, UNISON and Unite.

[2] The full survey results can be read at (Live from midnight on 27th September 2017) ComRes interviewed 2,032 adults aged 18+ in Great Britain online between 15th and 17th September 2017. Data were weighted by age, gender, region and socio-economic grade to be representative of all GB adults aged 18+. Survey

Questions Q1. Pay rises for public sector workers are reviewed by independent pay review bodies. Between 2010 and 2013, the Government froze pay since when it has been capped at 1%. The Government says this has been done to maintain spending in other areas. The Government have announced they intend to lift the public sector pay cap for the police and prison officers. To what extent would you support or oppose the removal of this cap for NHS staff e.g. nurses, midwives, paramedics?

Q2. If the Government makes an announcement that they will lift the policy of the pay cap in the NHS, do you think the Government should also increase the funding available for the NHS pay review body to recommend an award higher than 1%?

Q3. If the pay cap was removed, to what extent would you support or oppose a pay increase for all NHS staff in line with or above the cost of living (RPI inflation)?

Q4. Which of the following do you think are or are not a significant consequence of low pay in the NHS?

Q5. To what extent do you support or oppose NHS staff being paid an increase to their pay that is in line with the cost of living (RPI inflation) plus a flat rate of £800 to take account of the loss of value of pay caused by seven years of pay restraint?


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