26 September 2023

UNITED KINGDOM: Ministers at odds over pay claims

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Minister for the United Kingdom Treasury, Simon Clarke has said “wildly excessive” public sector pay claims cannot be met and Government workers could expect rises “of around three per cent”.

Mr Clarke (pictured) said the Government had no money for increases that would match inflation, currently expected to top out at 11 per cent.

“Chasing double-digit numbers would be directly against the interest of doctors and nurses, as it would lead to a world where we would very quickly lose control of spending discipline,” Mr Clarke said.

This comes as a direct contradiction to Minister of Health, Sajid Javid who earlier said National Health Service (NHS) staff deserved fair pay with soaring costs taken into account.

Mr Clarke revealed the Government had factored in funding for a three per cent public sector pay rise in its autumn spending review last year — although this came before the huge inflation rise driven in part by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“Cabinet colleagues are going to have to show real discipline and ingenuity in making sure they stick within their spending review settlements,” the Minister said.

“There won’t be any allowance for inflation in the reserve,” he said.

“There can’t be.

“This is why people elect Conservative Governments, because we are responsible; it doesn’t always mean playing the easy tunes.”

Mr Clarke said current problems would only be compounded by offering the false promise that people could receive very high inflation-driven pay settlements.

A Treasury spokesperson later said it was right that hard-working public sector workers were rewarded with a pay rise.

“This needs to be proportionate and balanced with the need to manage inflationary pressures and public sector finances,” the spokesperson said.

“Pay for most front-line workforces, including nurses, police officers, prison officers and teachers, is set through an independent pay review body process.”

The spokesperson said the Government would carefully consider all pay recommendations from the independent pay review bodies once their final reports were submitted.

London, 27 June 2022

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