Theresa May’s Government announced yesterday they will end the 1% annual cap on public sector pay by 2018 and in 2017, police and prison staff will be awarded with a 2% and 1.7% rise.
However, Senior Police Officers remain locked in a bitter row with the Government arguing that the number of officers on the streets will have to be cut in order to fund this 2% pay rise for their staff.
The Prime Minister stated that “more flexibility” is required to continue attracting and retaining workers with the right skills in order to distribute “world class” public services.
These rises will be supported through cuts elsewhere in prisons and police force budgets. It has been submitted that other public-sector workers will see a rise in 2018/19 however, these will be funded through Government spending.
The armed forces, doctors, dentists and the NHS are next scheduled for a pay review which will be addressed in Autumns budget.
These increases appear as a positive move in the right direction, however, they still fall below the rate of inflation and were instantly criticised by unions who have been fighting for a 5% increase across the board.
The Prison Officers Association argues that the 1.7% pay increase for their staff is “not good enough” when current inflation sits at 2.9%.
The Police Federation stated: “It nowhere near makes up for what police officers have lost – it doesn’t deal with real term cuts.”
Frances O’Grady, General Secretary of the Trade Union Congress branded the Government as “pathetic” over the offer. “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.”
Sir Vincent Cable, leader of the Liberal Democrats said he was pleased the Prime Minister had accepted that the pay cap was no longer sustainable and urged ministers to protect all public-sector workers and ensure they are “given the pay they deserve.”
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