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  • New 1% NHS pay offer is “a real terms pay cut” and “hammer blow to morale”, says union body
  • All key workers deserve a decent pay rise, says TUC

The TUC has today (Friday) released new analysis which shows how major groups of NHS workers will be much worse off in real terms in 2021-22 than in 2010.

The analysis shows that following the government’s decision to offer NHS staff a pay rise of just 1% in 2021-22, nurses’ pay will be down as much as £2,500 in real terms compared to a decade ago.

The picture is bleak for many other NHS staff too:

  • Porters’ pay will be down by up to £850
  • Maternity care assistants’ pay will be down by up to £2,100
  • Paramedics’ pay will be down by up to £3,330

Real terms pay loss since 2010


Pay 2010

Pay 2010 in 20-21 prices  (CPI)

Agenda for change 2020-21 pay

Pay 2021-22 (1% proposed increase)

Real terms pay loss 2010-2021







Medical secretaries






Nursery Nurse






Maternity Care Assistants

Speech and Language Therapy Assistants

Team coordinators







Community nurses

Radiographer Specialist 







Source: TUC analysis of NHS Agenda for Change Pay scales

The TUC analysis also reveals that NHS workers across many occupations and pay bands will suffer a real-terms pay cut in 2021-22.

For example, an experienced nurse or midwife (NHS band 5) will a face an annual real-terms pay cut of up to £153 in 2021-22 as a result of the planned 1% increase.

Unions have described the latest pay offer to NHS workers as an insult to their hard work and dedication during the pandemic.

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: 

“Our brilliant NHS workers have put their lives on their line to get Britain through this pandemic.

“It’s time we cared for them the way they have cared for us.

“That means giving them the decent pay rise they deserve – not a pathetic 1% increase.

“After years of real-terms pay cuts the government’s latest offer is a hammer blow to staff morale.

“This boils down to political choices. Ministers have chosen to spend hundreds of millions on outsourcing our failed test and trace system and on dodgy PPE contracts. But they have chosen not to find the money to give nurses, paramedics and other NHS workers fair pay.

“Boosting pay for NHS key workers will help our local businesses and high streets recover faster – because their customers will have more cash to spend. And that will help other workers get a pay rise too.”

Editors note
  • NHS pay data compares 2010 and 2021 pay and is adjusted for inflation using CPI – comparing 2010 wages in real terms today (if they had kept up with the cost of living) with 2021 wages.
  • 2021 wages are estimated using the 1% proposed pay increase in the government submission to PRB.
  • The pay figures are for individual occupations at the top of agenda for change
  •  The Trades Union Congress (TUC) exists to make the working world a better place for everyone. We bring together more than 5.5 million working people who make up our 48 member unions. We support unions to grow and thrive, and we stand up for everyone who works for a living. 


TUC press office   
020 7467 1248  




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