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Last Updated: Friday, 2 March 2007, 11:54 GMT
Unions threaten action over pay
The increases are the lowest in the last 10 years
Unions are threatening industrial action over below-inflation pay rises for public sector workers.

Amicus says it is "assessing the mood" of members before deciding on a ballot. The Royal College of Nursing said its members feel "angry and let down".

The government says the deal is fair to staff and good for the economy.

Nurses will get a 1.9% rise but GPs will get none at all. Some armed forces personnel will get 9.2%, but senior civil servants will receive just 1.4%.

A 2.5% increase for health staff will be paid in two stages in April and November, while rises for servicemen and women will be paid "without delay".

It is a real let down for Britain's nurses and other health professionals who really do deserve better
Karen Jennings

Unison, the UK's largest health union, said the rise amounted to "nothing more than a pay cut" as the retail price index was at 4.2%.

The union's head of health, Karen Jennings, said: "We believe that 2.5% is low enough without reducing its value even further by paying it in two stages.

"That means it is worth a paltry 1.9%, and it is a real let down for Britain's nurses and other health professionals who really do deserve better."

She added: "We are all paying more for our household bills and this increase will be eaten up by inflation and leave many nurses struggling. We will be consulting widely with our members."

GPs 0%
Dentists 2%
Junior doctors 3%
Senior military 2%
Senior civil service 1.4%
Judiciary 2.4%
Prison officers in England and Wales 2.5%
Prison officers in Northern Ireland 2%

On Thursday, Chancellor Gordon Brown told MPs he had accepted the public sector pay review body's recommendations that awards are kept within the government's 2% inflation target.

The increases are the lowest over the past 10 years, and by bringing in the pay review bodies' recommendations in two stages - part in April and the rest in November - the Treasury will save about 200m.

Nurses will get 1.5% in April and 1% in November, which works out at about 1.9% over the year.

Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt said she appreciated nurses would be "disappointed" by the staggered increases but said their rise would amount to 4.4% once annual progression increases were included.

Chief Secretary of the Treasury Stephen Timms said the wider deal was "fair to staff as well as being right for the economy".

"I hope that when staff look at the details of this settlement and see what it actually means in terms of their pay next year they will recognise that it is a fair settlement," he told BBC Two's Newsnight.

Defence secretary Des Browne said he was "delighted" to announce the armed forces will get the public sector's largest rise.

The 13,000 lowest-paid will get an extra 9.2% - equivalent to 100 a month.

Another 6,000 will get a rise of 6.2%, senior officers will get 2% and the rest, 3.3%.

But former infantry soldier Steve McLaughlin said it was not enough and soldiers deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan should earn as much as a fireman, paramedic or policeman.

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