Public sector 1% pay cap to be lifted next year
The government has announced they will lift the 1% annual cap on public sector pay from next year, and have confirmed higher rises for police and prison officers immediately.
According to Teresa May’s spokesman, police will receive a 1% pay rise plus a bonus 1% for the year and prison officers a 1.7% rise for 2017-18. There will be ‘flexibility’ over public sector pay rises from 2018-19, effectively putting an end to the 1% cap which has been in place for the past seven years.
However shortly after the announcement the Prison Officers Association and the Police Federation said their pay rises were insufficient alongside a 2.9% inflation increase.
The lifting of the 1%cap follows months of protest by Labour and the prospect of mass strikes by trade unions, who say workers’ pay has plummeted in real terms. The chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales have said that members of his federation would be “angry and deflated” at this increase as they had requested a basic pay rise of 2.8%, while the Prison Officers Association called for a 5% increase.
The Treasury announcement comes after weeks of speculation the 1% pay cap may be lifted in response to growing worries about its impact on staff recruitment and morale in the public sector. Public sector pay was frozen for two years in 2010, except for those earning less than £21,000 a year, and since 2013, rises have been capped at 1% – below the rate of inflation.
Liberal Democrat leader Sir Vince Cable said: “It is good to see the government finally recognise that the public sector pay cap is no longer sustainable. The cap must now be lifted across the board so all public sector workers are given the pay rise they deserve.”
TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said “this below-inflation pay offer is pathetic”. “Public sector workers have suffered seven long years of real pay cuts, and are thousands of pounds worse off. Today’s announcement means bills will continue to rise faster than their wages.”