Government abolishes public sector pay cap

Claire Sullivan at TUC 2016

Claire Sullivan at TUC 2016

The Government have backed down over public sector pay freeze, ending a seven-year cap on wages.

But police officers and trade unions said they were unhappy with the offer which will give police the usual 1 percent increase to their basic pay, plus a one-off of 1 percent.

Officers who work in correctional facitilies will receive an average 1.7% pay rise, while and police officers will receive additional pay totalling 2% for 2017/18.

The PM's spokesman dismissed suggestions that today's rise was in reaction to union pressure, however.

Frances O'Grady, general secretary of the TUC, told Sky News the announcement amounted to an "insult" and pointed out the rise was still below the inflation rate of 2.9%.

Asked on Monday if the public sector pay cap was still in place, the prime minister's spokesman said the pay review process was continuing.

The decision risks increasing Britain's deficit as each one per cent increase in public sector pay is estimated to cost the taxpayer £2billion, and is likely to be attacked by critics on the Conservative Right.

The leader of one of the unions, the Public and Commercial Services union's Mark Serwotka, made a passionate plea for action.

The 2017/18 settlements will be met out of existing departmental budgets and will be implemented immediately.

Mrs May's spokesman said: "Cabinet agreed that public sector workers are among the most talented and hard-working people in our society".

"Public sector workers have suffered seven long years of real pay cuts, and are thousands of pounds worse off".

She added that the government would wait for the publication of the police and prison officers' pay review bodies' reports before deciding its policy framework for 2018-2019.

If the government gave all public sector workers a 2.6 percent increase this year, the additional spending would rise to almost 3 billion pounds, IFS analyst Jonathan Cribb said.

'If Ministers think a derisory rise like this will deal with the staffing crisis in our public services, they are sorely mistaken'.

Steve White, chair of the Police Federation of England and Wales, said police deserved to be paid suitably for the "immensely demanding role they perform and this simply is not the case".

The announcement comes amid rising anger from public sector workers over the pay cap and its impact on morale and retention of staff in key sectors.

Labour's health spokesman Jon Ashworth said ministers must state categorically what the position was.

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