Labour have the Tories on the run over the public sector pay cap

28 June 2017

UPDATE: The government seems to have U-turned on its U-turn. More on this if the government finally figures out what its policy is…

The government may cave in on its 1% cap on public sector pay rises – affecting everyone from nurses to teachers and firefighters – after a Labour amendment to the Queen’s Speech gathered support.

The Treasury has told the BBC that the pay cap is “under review” and “open to discussion”, after rumours that some Tory MPs are planning to abstain on the amendment.

With such a narrow Tory majority in parliament, a few abstentions could mean that Labour’s plan passes. The government U-turn appears to be an attempt to stop that from happening.

The public sector pay cap is one of the key planks of Tory austerity. The ‘cap’ has really been a long-term pay cut, as it has meant below-inflation pay rises every year since 2010, eroding the value of workers’ pay packets.

Defeating the cap after seven years would be a big win for Labour and Jeremy Corbyn.

After Theresa May was able to suddenly find £1.5 billion to pay off 10 DUP MPs to prop up her government, the miserly cap looks increasingly indefensible.

May’s generosity to the Northern Ireland MPs has been widely contrasted with her telling a nurse in a pre-election Question Time debate that there is “no magic money tree” for pay rises.

MPs themselves received a 10% pay rise in 2015.