Public sector pay cap to be lifted
Ministers will now get “flexibility” to breach the longstanding 1% limit.
The announcement came as the government said police officers would get a 1% rise plus a 1% bonus – taken from existing budgets – with prison officers getting a 1.7% rise.
Unions reacted angrily to the pay awards, branding them a real-terms cut, and the Prison Officers Association threatened industrial action.
There was also a warning from police chiefs that making forces pay for the increase themselves would put “financial pressure on already stretched budgets”.
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.
There has been speculation in recent weeks the cap could be lifted in response to worries about its impact on staff recruitment and retention and morale in the public sector.
Announcing the increases for police and prison officers, Chief Secretary to the Treasury Elizabeth Truss said “now is a time to move to a more flexible approach” to public sector pay.