Government offers 'inflation busting' pay rises
Chancellor Philip Hammond has handed public sector workers a pay rise that is above the UK’s 2% inflation rate. The move comes just days before Theresa May leaves office, which could lead Mr Hammond to resign as chancellor.
The deals will affect almost one million public sector workers from prison officers to dentists. Teachers will get a 2.75% salary boost, the equivalent to £1,000 extra a year, for those on an average salary.
On average, doctors working in hospitals will get an extra £1,500 in their pay packet, while police constables will earn an extra £978.
The pay rise will be backdated to the start of each department’s financial year.
“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,” Mr Hammond said.
Signing off on the pay increases could be one of Mr Hammond’s final acts as chancellor.
Over the weekend, Mr Hammond told the BBC that he planned to tender his resignation on Wednesday if Boris Johnson won the Tory leadership race.
The pay rises cover armed forces across the UK; police in England and Wales; school teachers in England, and senior civil servants in England, Scotland and Wales.
Doctors and dentists in England are also included, but GPs are subject to a separate pay deal.
The NHS pay review body recommends pay for doctors and dentists in Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland and it is up to the devolved administrations to respond.
Public sector pay was frozen for two years in 2010, except for those earning less than £21,000 a year, and after that rises were capped at 1% – below the rate of inflation.
The cap was ended last year. Police officer Christopher Lemm said he was expecting a “much larger” increase.
“Our pay has fallen approximately 19% in real terms since 2010 and inflation is currently running at 2% so this is a tiny increase which does little to redress previous cuts,” he said.
Another police officer, who did not want to be identified, told the BBC that his colleagues were only likely to receive an extra £50 per month as a result of the pay rise.
The officer said it would do little to repair the relationship between government and the police because they had received “little or nothing by way of a pay rise” for nine years.
The pay rise will be one of Mrs May’s final acts as prime minister.
She 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.”
But Labour’s shadow chancellor John McDonnell said the pay increases were “insulting” after reports of the salary rises emerged last week.
“After years of holding back the pay of our dedicated public sector workers, it is shameful for the government to pay for ending the public sector pay cap with more cuts,” he said.
About a quarter of all public spending goes on pay. The Treasury said its wage bill was £191bn last year, up from £171.6bn three years earlier.
- Teachers will get an additional 2.75%
- Consultants and dentists are due to get 2.5% more
- Police are also in line for a 2.5% boost
- Armed Forces personnel get 2.9% more
- Prison officers will get an extra 2.2%
- There will be a 2% increase for senior civil servants and senior military staff.