Budget sets out two-year public sector pay freeze

Chancellor George Osborne has called for a two-year pay freeze on all public sector workers earning more than £21,000.

Mr Osborne: two-year public sector pay freeze
Mr Osborne: two-year public sector pay freeze

Despite his commitment to protecting the NHS budget, Mr Osborne's pay freeze, alongside a review of public sector pensions, could leave many NHS staff out of pocket.

In addition, the Sure Start scheme will be restricted to families’ first child, Mr Osborne announced in his first budget as chancellor.

All applicants for disability living allowance will be subject to a ‘medical assessment’ as part of a drive to reduce spending on benefits, though it is unclear which profession will conduct the tests.

The RCN has warned that the budget could lead to low morale among NHS staff and increased demand on services.

RCN chief executive Dr Peter Carter described the two-year pay freeze as 'short-sighted.'

'Nurses and healthcare assistants are committed to the NHS, and the government will need these dedicated staff to put its plans for the future of the NHS into action. While nurses are pragmatic, excessive cuts will damage staff morale, putting these reforms in jeopardy,' he said.

'While we are pleased health spending has been ring-fenced, tax hikes and spending cuts need to be carefully balanced as cuts that are too deep or too fast could mean patient needs cannot be met.

'Nurses will also be concerned that cuts to social care budgets will jeopardise the health of vulnerable people.'

Mr Osborne said the measures were part of an ‘unavoidable budget’ needed to reduce the UK’s structural deficit to zero over the next five years.

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