Local Government Pay Rise 2023: What it Means for Healthcare Workers

Healthcare workers employed by local governments and councils across the UK are set to receive a significant pay rise in 2023. After years of real-terms pay cuts and below-inflation pay rises, the government has finally agreed to increase salaries more substantially. This is likely to have a major impact not just on the personal finances of public sector healthcare workers, but also on staff retention and the quality of care provided.


In July 2022, the local government made a significant announcement regarding pay increases for millions of public sector workers in the 2023/24 financial year. This includes a £1925 raise for the lowest-paid workers and a 5% increase for more experienced staff. For healthcare workers employed by local authorities and councils, such as nurses, care workers, and other clinical staff, this marks the most substantial pay boost in many years.

After enduring a decade of capped 1% pay rises for public sector employees, wages have fallen behind the rapidly rising cost of living. Consequently, numerous experienced healthcare professionals have left local government positions for better-paying roles in the private sector or abroad. The resulting staff shortages across the NHS and adult social care have continued to worsen.

The 2023 pay rise for council and local authority staff is expected to provide a welcome financial boost for frontline healthcare workers. Given the current inflation rate of over 10%, this level of pay increase will also serve as a safeguard for employees against the escalating costs of goods and services. In the healthcare sector, this boost could potentially contribute to better staff retention and recruitment efforts.

Who is affected by the 2023 pay rise?

The local government pay rise 2023 will affect almost 2 million public sector workers across the UK. This includes:

  • Nurses, carers and other frontline clinical staff directly employed by local authorities and councils to work in care homes, home care services, health clinics and community health facilities.
  • Doctors, ambulance staff and other healthcare workers not directly employed by the NHS but working for other public sector bodies at a local level.
  • Administrative, corporate and facilities staff working in local government healthcare services.

So in summary, any healthcare worker directly employed by a council, local authority, municipality or other public sector body outside of the NHS itself is likely to benefit from the 2023 pay boost.

Pay increase percentages explained

The headline pay rise figure is 5% for experienced local government employees. But how does this break down?

  • Staff earning less than £20000 will receive a £1925 pay rise – equating to 10.5%
  • Employees on £20000 to £30000 will get 5%
  • Individuals earning £30000 to £40000 will obtain 4%
  • Pay will rise by 3.5% for those on £40000 to £50000
  • Those earning £50000 to £70000 will see a 2% increase
  • Pay will rise by 1.5% for those on £70000 to £100000
  • Those earning over £100000 will get a 1% pay boost

So in summary, lower paid healthcare workers will see their pay boosted by around 10%, with higher earners receiving smaller increases on a sliding scale.

Impact on personal finances

A 10% pay increase could have a significant impact on the take-home pay of lower-paid healthcare assistants, nurses, carers, and other clinical staff. For someone earning £20,000, this translates to an additional £38.46 in their weekly pay or £166 per month. With household bills and inflation on the rise, this extra income will serve as a much-needed financial buffer for many.

Moving up the pay scales, a 5% salary hike for a healthcare worker earning £30,000 annually would mean an extra £57.69 per week or £250 more per month. Once again, this increase will contribute to maintaining their spending power.

The pay raise is expected to help bridge the wage gap between healthcare roles in local government and comparable positions in the NHS or private sector.This, in turn, may help address the challenges of recruiting and retaining staff, crucial considerations given the current shortages.

Will it improve NHS and social care staffing issues?

The hope from government and healthcare leaders is that the sizable pay rise will help tackle the workforce crisis in the NHS and adult social care.

In recent years, many experienced healthcare professionals have left local authority and council roles for better paid NHS or private sector positions. This contributed to staffing shortages across health and social care.

By boosting pay, local government healthcare roles will hopefully become more competitive. This could help attract applicants and retain existing staff who might otherwise leave for alternative employment. Even a few percent extra pay can make a big difference in areas like elderly care, where staffing levels are dangerously low.

However, independent experts warn issues like high workloads, emotional demands and lack of investment also need addressing to truly fix the workforce crisis long term. But there is no doubt the pay rise will make local government clinical jobs more appealing and competitive on pay.

Reaction from healthcare unions

Healthcare unions have broadly welcomed the pay rise, but with some caveats. They emphasize that after years of real-terms pay cuts, this only begins the process of restoring adequate pay.

Unison, the UK’s largest union representing many local government healthcare workers, said the pay rise was “long overdue”. But they warned inflation remained extremely high and called for an additional £1000 across the board to reflect rising costs.

The GMB union was more positive, calling the pay boost the biggest in 20 years for local government staff. But they also committed to monitoring the impact on workloads, recruitment and retention.

The Royal College of Nursing likewise welcomed the above-inflation pay rise, but pointed out challenges like high living costs remain. Across the sector, unions seem to view the pay rise as progress but stress there is still a long way to go.

What happens next?

The pay rise will take effect from April 2023. Healthcare employers across local government and councils will be responsible for implementing the increases. Union representatives will monitor the impact the pay boost has on the workforce.

The pay rise only covers the 2023/24 financial year. Looking ahead, unions want to see current NHS and social care staff prioritised in the next round of pay negotiations for 2024/25. They also aim to campaign for additional funding to support manageable workloads.

For now, local government healthcare staff will be glad to receive the pay boost at a time of great financial uncertainty. But the coming months and years will determine whether pay and staffing issues in the sector can be resolved sustainably over the long term.


In conclusion, the 2023 pay rise for local government healthcare workers is significant and overdue. The 10% boost for lower earners in particular will aid their personal finances amid soaring inflation. This may boost recruitment and retention in hard pressed areas like social care.

However, it remains to be seen whether the pay rise will fully remedy the workforce crisis. Issues like high workload, lack of investment and low prestige also need addressing. Unions welcome the pay boost but stress there are still challenges ahead and pay must remain competitive long term.

For now, local government healthcare staff will welcome the extra money as the cost of living rises. But the coming years will determine whether workers can be retained sustainably over the longer term.

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