Lib Dems promise action to boost public sector pay

15 May 17

The Liberal Democrats have committed to increasing public sector pay saying they would lift the government’s 1% pay cap and uprate wages in line with inflation.

Today’s announcement follows the revelation in the leaked Labour manifesto which also indicated Labour’s planned to scrap the 1% pay cap for public sector workers.

The proposed pay rise would hit £780 by 2021, while under current Conservative plans, by 2021 a new nurse will be £530 a year worse off, a primary school teacher £550 and an army sergeant £830, according to the Lib Dems.

They claim the current cap will mean that the average civil servant will be around £800 a year worse off by 2021, losing out on £2700 of pay over the next four years. 

Vince Cable, Lib Dem shadow chancellor and former business secretary, said: “Public sector workers are facing a double blow at the hands of this Conservative government, with years of pitiful increases to pay combined with a Brexit squeeze caused by soaring inflation.

“Our NHS and schools are already struggling to recruit the staff they need. "Living standards are falling, prices are rising and nurses are going to food banks – but Theresa May doesn’t care.”

Details of how the policy would be paid for will be released in the party manifesto later this week. The Lib Dems say it is fully costed.

In March the government announced that pay for NHS workers, doctors and dentists, and members of the armed forces would increase by 1% next year but inflation stands at 2.3%.

The government has said the pay cap is needed to ensure it can tackle the deficit.

Garry Graham, deputy general secretary of the Prospect union, welcomed the pledges from Labour and the Lib Dems.

He said: “There is now an emerging consensus that the 1% pay cap is hurting civil servants and damaging the capacity of our public services to respond to the challenges facing the UK.  

“Our members in the public services have seen their living standards cut by 15% or more since 2010 with further cuts still to come.

“We would urge the Conservatives to listen to the voice of the profession and join with the other main parties in agreeing to lift the cap.”

A Conservative spokesman said voting for the Lib Dems would "wreck our finances, risk our economic recovery and destroy the wages of ordinary working families across the country".

"The only way to deliver a strong economy which pays for strong public services is by backing Theresa May and her Conservative team," he added.

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