Nurses are being asked how they want to respond to a continuing cap on their pay, including whether they want to be balloted on industrial action.

The Royal College of Nursing is to consult its 435,000 members after the Government announced last week it was keeping a 1% cap on pay rises.

The RCN Council voted to ask members about the impact of pay restraint and how to respond, including whether members should consider taking industrial action.

RCN general secretary Janet Davies said: “The decision taken today by RCN Council shows their concern for the impact continued pay restraint is having on dedicated nursing staff.

“The pay cap is fuelling a recruitment and retention crisis, and when compounded by issues such as down-banding, substitution of roles and student funding changes, it’s a perfect storm for nursing.”

The result of the consultation will be discussed at the RCN’s annual congress in Liverpool next month.

Any ballot for industrial action would have to be held after the consultation.