Biggest pay rise in six years for public sector workers

19 Jul 2019

Public sector workers in the UK are to be awarded pay rises above inflation within new government plans, it was reported on Friday.

Theresa May is due to make the announcement next week in one of her final acts as PM, reports The Times.

The planned pay rise is the public sector’s largest in six years, set to cost £2bn.

Around two million workers will receive the pay rise, Sky News reports, with police officers due to obtain a 2.5% rise, soldiers 2.9% and teachers and other school workers a 2.75% increase.

Furthermore, dentists and consultants will receive a 2.5% rise, and 2% for senior civil servants.

The pay rises will not apply to other workers in the public sector, including nurses and junior civil servants, as their pay is organised separately.

The funding for the increase will stem from existing budgets, except for additional funding for schools.

Although welcomed, the pay rises are still causing concern that they don’t match the private sector’s drive to increase salaries.

Jonathan Cribb, a senior research economist at the Institute for Fiscal Studies, told The Times: "These public sector pay rises are higher than last year's and considerably higher than the 1% for many years before that.

"It is the highest nominal pay increase since the coalition. But these increases are still slower than pay rises that are happening on average in the private sector."

Cribb also cautioned that "savings will have to be made elsewhere", without any new funding for the increases.

The decision indicates a new direction in regard to public sector pay by the Conservatives and Theresa May.

Pay rises in the public sector were capped at 1% by the Tory-led coalition back in 2010, but this has since been scrapped.

However, in 2018, May refused to agree to proposals put forward by independent public sector pay review bodies, which led to a backlash from home secretary Sajid Javid and then-defence secretary Gavin Williamson.

Frontrunner to be the next Prime Minister, Boris Johnson has not committed to public sector pay rises, although health secretary Matt Hancock said the public sector would be "shown some love" if Mr Johnson won.

"Of course he's right, we are going to make sure that we properly fund our public services," Mr Johnson said.

"It's very important when you're in charge of a great public service, whether it's the police or transport, you've got to make sure - or local government - you've got to make sure that you understand their cares and their needs."

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