Andy Burnham MP, Labour's Shadow Health Secretary, in response to the Department of Health's plans to introduce regional pay variation in the NHS, said:"Andrew Lansley's proposal for 'market-facing pay' in the NHS is flawed on every level.
"First, it fails the economic test, making it harder to control costs and reinforcing the North-South divide.
"Second, it fails the heath policy test. Differential pay will bring instability to the NHS, with the risk of one area poaching staff from another. It makes it harder to bring the best staff to the more deprived parts of the country where the health challenge is often greatest.
"Third, it fails the fairness test. Paying people differently for the same work is difficult to justify. Indeed, it is often harder to work on the NHS front-line in more deprived parts of the country.
"People will find it particularly galling to see senior managers trying to create one rule for themselves and another for front-line staff, insulating themselves from these changes whilst trying to drive down the earnings of the lowest-paid.
"This proposal is all part of the Prime Minister's plan to remove the N from NHS. It is explicitly linked to the advance of Mr Cameron's free market in health.
"National pay is an important part of the infrastructure that underpins a national health service and Labour will defend it. It is fair to staff, brings stability to the NHS and balance to our economy."