Staff in England's National Health Service, who have been on the front line of the battle against the coronavirus, will receive a 3 per cent pay rise, the British government said on Wednesday.
The increase for staff including nurses, paramedics, consultants, dentists and salaried general practitioners will be backdated to April 2021.
The government initially offered a 1 per cent pay rise, drawing criticism from staff, unions and the general public, who said it was scant reward for their work during the pandemic, which is still raging in the UK.
“NHS staff are rightly receiving a pay rise this year despite the wider public sector pay pause, in recognition of their extraordinary efforts,” Health Minister Sajid Javid said.
The government made an improved offer after it accepted the recommendations of independent pay review bodies.
For the average nurse, the rise will mean an additional £1,000 ($1,372) a year, while many porters and cleaners will receive about £540 more, the government said.
However, the rise for NHS staff in England falls short of the 4 per cent increase backdated to December 2020 given by the Scottish government to NHS Scotland staff.
Health spending and public sector pay is a responsibility of the devolved nations in the UK – Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.