Prime Minister welcomes significant uplift in key public sector jobs

Picture by Robert Midgley / No 10 Downing Street

Boris Johnson reaffirmed his commitment to boost the numbers of teachers, police officers, nurses and other public sector workers.

The Prime Minister today reaffirmed his commitment to boost the numbers of teachers, police officers, nurses and other public sector workers as part of the Government’s drive to build back better from the Covid pandemic in 2021.

In a year which saw the number of nurses grow by more than 13,000, police officers by 6,000, and teachers by 41,000, the Prime Minister will make continuing to recruit the brightest and best into frontline public sector roles a priority in 2021.

Campaigns to hire more NHS staff, teachers, prison officers will be ramped up throughout the year, with ministers ready to redouble efforts to fill frontline roles to further support public services.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said:

We have the very best public servants and I feel an enormous sense of admiration when I think about the care, fortitude and determination with which our doctors, nurses, teachers, police officers and prison workers have faced up to the challenges of the pandemic.

There is light at the end of the Covid tunnel – the vaccine provides increasing hope of returning to normality by Easter and I am determined that we build back better from the pandemic and take advantage of the opportunities that are ahead. My commitment to recruit more teachers, nurses, police officers and other frontline workers is unwavering. We have made good progress this year, but 2021 will be a year of growth and renewal – and having the very best frontline workers will be a critical part of that.

Annual recruitment figures for key frontline positions are as follows:

NHS and Social Care

Figures from the Department of Health and Social Care reveal that the number of nurses in the NHS in England increased by 13,313 last year to a record 299,184. The Government says it is committed to delivering 50,000 more nurses by the end of this Parliament. The number of doctors also rose, with an additional 6,030 to a record 122,446, latest figures up until September show.

The number of nursing and midwifery students accepting places at university this year increased by a record 26% compared to last year, and professionally qualified clinical staff including paramedics are at record levels, as are scientific, therapeutic, and technical staff.

The starting pay for a newly qualified nurse has risen by over 12% since 2017/18. Most existing nurses have also seen a pay rise of at least 6.5% over the course of the latest pay deal.

The NHS Pension Scheme is also one of the most comprehensive and generous schemes in the UK, where the employer pays a contribution equal to 20.68% of salary towards the cost of the pension.


Figures show that 41,000 new trainees were recruited during 2020. This year the Government announced the biggest pay rise the teaching profession has seen since 2005, with above-inflation rises to the pay ranges for every single teacher in the country.

Police Officers

The Government has already recruited almost 6,000 extra police officers, putting us on track to hit the target of bringing in an additional 20,000 police officers this Parliament. In July, the Government announced that police pay would rise by 2.5% in 2020 to 2021, providing officers with an increase above inflation for the second year running.

Border Force

As part of preparations for Brexit, around 900 additional operational staff were recruited in the 2019/20 financial year and a further 1,100 staff will be recruited by July 2021.

Prison Officers

During 2020, a further 1,760 prison officers were recruited across England and Wales, alongside an additional 443 probation officers. The Ministry of Justice plans to recruit a further 3,200 prison officers and 1,500 probation officers during the financial year 2021/22. In July, the Government announced a pay rise of at least 2.5% for all prison staff – with cumulative awards of up to 7.5% for some staff when progression pay is taken into account.

As part of efforts to recruit key frontline posts across the NHS, police, teaching and prisons, public-facing campaigns will ramp up during 2021.

A new TV advertising drive for police officers will launch on Tuesday (5th January) across England and Wales. The campaign aims to showcase the difference that police officers make to their communities – including those from underrepresented groups.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here