I’ve written on a number of occasions before about the injustice of public sector pay cuts, freezes and below inflation pay rises (all of which effectively amount to real terms cuts).
Over the last five years we’ve had to make some really tough decisions as a nation, including finding savings in many areas of the public sector. However placing the burden of our financial challenges explicitly on the shoulders of our hard working public sector employees has never been a fair means of delivering that. Cutting peoples’ pay does not, in my view, equate to “efficiency savings”, and I have been outspoken against this on many occasions.
Figures from the ONS show that, taking into account all reasonable adjustments (e.g. for the level of qualification, type of work, size of organisation etc.), public sector pay now lags behind the private sector. It would therefore be categorically unfair for further restrictions to be imposed on public sector pay.
I welcome announcements today from Liberal Democrat Party Leader and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg that a Lib Dem government will put an end to public sector pay freezes and guarantee that public sector workers get a fairer deal going forward.
Liberal Democrats will guarantee public sector pay increases by at least the rate of inflation. Nick Clegg said after five years of pay restraint public sector workers deserved to see light at the end of the tunnel and feel the benefits of the economic recovery.
This is why the Liberal Democrats will ensure employees in the public sector are no longer subject to real term cuts in their pay from the first full year of the next parliament.
To do this, we will issue guidance to public sector pay review bodies to ensure pay increases at least in line with inflation in 2016/17 and 2017/18.
After that, we will be make sure pay review bodies deliver an above inflation increase in public sector pay.
This means a minimum pay rise of:
Our balanced approach to the economy – tackling the deficit, but doing it fairly – means the Liberal Democrats are the only party that can make this commitment.
The Tories’ ideological cuts to public spending and Labour’s failure to tackle the deficit mean both parties will have to make further cuts to real terms pay.
Public sector pay restraint, which was brought in to get the nation’s finances back on track, contributed over £12bn to the job of deficit reduction in this parliament.
Deputy Prime Minister and Leader of the Liberal Democrats Nick Clegg said:
“Workers across the public sector have made enough sacrifices. You have done your bit to help get the country back on track.
“That’s why the Liberal Democrats believe it is time to end the era of pay restraint.
“No more pay freezes or below inflation pay rises. We can do this because, with the Liberal Democrats, there is light at the end of the tunnel.”