The Government has been blasted over plans for a swathe of pay rises for public sector workers today that critics claim could strip £2billion from frontline services.
Teachers, doctors and soldiers are among a million public sector workers handed above-inflation raises today by Chancellor Philip Hammond in what is probably one of final acts in the role.
But the raise was criticised over plans to use existing budgets to find the increases rather than the Treasury stumping up more cash.
Peter Dowd, Labour’s shadow chief secretary to the Treasury, said: ‘Today’s announcements do little to make up for nine years of attacks on public sector workers’ pay.
‘The Tory Chancellor is refusing to cover the cost, meaning up to £2billion in further cuts to frontline services.
‘The Prime Minister once pledged an ‘end to austerity’, but her final act is to break that promise.’
Under the plan unveiled by Mr Hammond today medics in hospitals will receive an extra £1,500 or 2.5 per cent while teachers get a 2.75 per cent increase that averages out at £1,000 per person, the Treasury announced.
Soldiers will get a 2.9 per cent raise equivalent to £995 for a corporal and officers will get a £769 top-up to their salaries.
It is the second above-inflation pay rise for public sector staff since the 1 per cent pay cap was scrapped in September 2017.
The Treasury said it would be backdated to the start of each profession’s financial year.
Mr Hammond said: ‘This is in recognition of the hard work of millions of people, including soldiers, teachers and doctors, and will help us recruit and retain the best staff’
Theresa May, pictured in Downing Street this morning, said: ‘Our public sector workers deserve this pay rise in recognition of the brilliant job they do on a daily basis’
Mr Hammond said: ‘Public sector workers deliver Britain’s world class public services and should be properly rewarded which is why I’m confirming a second year of above inflation pay rises today.
‘This is in recognition of the hard work of millions of people, including soldiers, teachers and doctors, and will help us recruit and retain the best staff.
‘We are able to afford these pay rises because our balanced approach means we have reduced our debt while investing in public services, including pay.’
Jon Richards, national secretary of the Unison trade union which represents school support staff blasted the rise.
The increase will not apply to his members and he said schools will have to cut services to find the money themselves.
‘The government needs to fully fund all pay awards,’ he said.
‘Otherwise there will be more job cuts and that will hit pupils’ education.’
The announcement comes as Mr Hammond prepares to follow Theresa May out of Downing Street.
The Chancellor revealed on Sunday that he would resign to the Prime Minister rather than face the sack if, as expected, Boris Johnson is named Tory leader and prime minister tomorrow.
The pay rises announced are:
- 2.75 per cent for school teachers
- 2.5 per cent for consultants and dentists
- 2.5 per cent for police officers
- 2.9 per cent for personnel in the Armed Forces,
- at least 2.2 per cent for prison officers
- 2 per cent for senior civil servants and senior military staff
Police Federation chairman John Apter said the rise was not what it had asked for but was better than the ‘derisory rise’ given to police officers last year.
Mr Apter said: ‘This rise does little to redress the 18 per cent real term pay cut our members have experienced over the past nine years, and the Government must go further.
‘Before the next pay award, the Chancellor will announce the results of the Comprehensive Spending Review – and that must include substantial, centrally-funded investment to ensure the service is fully and properly resourced – encompassing a significant, real-term rise in officer pay.’
Liberal Democrat education spokesperson Layla Moran questioned where the money would come from.
‘Teaching unions are warning that the Conservatives haven’t provided enough money to fund this pay rise – they’ve left a black hole of £280million,’ she said.
‘Teachers will welcome this well-deserved pay increase but it will subject schools to further misery.
‘Headteachers must now decide which support staff they will have to sack or which basic supplies they will have to cut back on to afford this underfunded pay rise.
‘No headteacher should have to make these sorts of decisions – schools should be fully funded and teachers should be paid properly.’
Mrs May said: ‘Whether it’s keeping us safe, saving lives or educating the next generation, our public sector workers deserve this pay rise in recognition of the brilliant job they do on a daily basis.
‘In 2017 we ended the public sector pay cap and I’m pleased that we can build on this today by giving almost a million of our dedicated public servants an above inflation salary increase.’