Belfast Telegraph

Budget 2017: Lack of Northern Ireland Executive could halt nurse pay rise

By Jonathan Bell

The lack of a Northern Ireland Executive could prevent Northern Ireland nurses getting a pay rise.

In his budget, Chancellor Philip Hammond said if the independent public sector review body recommended nurses should get a pay rise of more than one percent he would find the money to pay for it.

However, as health is a devolved matter it could potentially mean Northern Ireland workers lose out as it would require a minister at Stormont to introduce the measure.

Secretary of State James Brokenshire has resisted introducing full-blown direct rule, which could allow the pay rise, despite ongoing political wrangling meaning there has been no Executive for the year. He has however, said Northern Ireland is on a "glide path" to rule from London.

Asked what would happen if the pay increase was approved by the Chancellor, Mr Brokenshire told the BBC: "I want to see an Executive back in place that's why the Prime Minister met the DUP and Sinn Fein this week for that purpose of trying to engender the parties to come together to find a resolution of the outstanding differences.

"Because it is this pressure we are seeing at the moment, on not being able to have the political decision making on really important issues such as on public sector pay where unless there is an existing policy pay awards can't be made.

"That isn't right."

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