REPORTS that PM Theresa May will lift the public-sector pay cap were dismissed by Downing Street as “speculation” yesterday.
Right-wing rag the Sun claimed at the weekend that Ms May was planning to end the 1 per cent cap — in place for the past seven years — as part of Chancellor Philip Hammond’s autumn Budget.
The Treasury will send letters within weeks setting the remit for public-sector pay review bodies for next year’s salaries.
According to the newspaper, one plan being considered could see the lowest-paid receive a rise at least in line with inflation from next April.
Those in sectors struggling to retain staff such as nurses and senior civil servants would also benefit from this plan.
But yesterday a Downing Street spokeswoman said: “The [writing to public-sector pay review bodies] process is ongoing and I’m not going to comment on speculation on what might or might not happen at the end of that.”
Royal College of Nursing general secretary Janet Davies said, if the cap was lifted, the Treasury must pledge to make up for workers’ loss of earnings. If the cap was not lifted, industrial action would be on the cards, she warned.
GMB union national secretary Rehana Azam said: “The artificial cap on pay was a political choice by the Conservative government. This damaging policy has seen thousands pinched from public-sector workers over seven years.”
Unison assistant general secretary Christina McAnea said waiting until the Budget to possibly end the pay cap only “adds to the extreme pressures” on hospitals, schools and councils struggling with staff recruitment and retention.