British public-sector health workers should receive an annual pay rise of 4-5pc this year, a government advisory body plans to recommend, according to a report in the Guardian newspaper on Saturday. Surging consumer price inflation, which hit a 40-year high of 9.1pc in May, means workers are pushing for bigger than normal pay rises, and there have been widespread strikes in Britain’s privately operated rail industry over the past week. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said pay restraint in the public sector is needed to save money and reduce the risk of a longer-term inflationary spiral. Average pay excluding bonuses in the public sector in the three months to April was up by an annual 1.8pc, compared with 4.8pc in the private sector, official figures show. The Guardian said the National Health Service Pay Review Body – a panel that makes annual pay recommendations to the government – would recommend an increase of “somewhere between 4pc and 5pc”. The body, which normally makes its annual recommendation in July, did not immediately reply to a request for comment. Last year it proposed a 3pc pay rise, which the government accepted. Its recommendations cover most staff other than doctors, dentists and senior managers in Britain’s National Health Service, totalling almost 1.5m workers.