Politics

Labour manifesto pledges 5% public sector pay rise to reverse Tory pay freeze

Labour have pledged to increase public sector pay by 5% in a bid to undo the legacy of the Tory pay cap.

The party's manifesto says all public sector workers would get a pay rise of 5% – an average of £1,643 – from April 2020.

After 2020 the party would deliver "year-on-year pay rises" from next year to increase pay packets to the levels they were at before the financial crisis in 2008.

The manifesto said the pay rise would "reward and retain the people who do so much for us all."

In 2010 the Tories froze public sector pay as part of its programme of austerity.

From 2013 nurses, teachers and firefighters had their pay rises capped at 1% – below the rate of inflation.

Last year Theresa May announced an end to the pay cap.

As one of her final acts as PM she promised to respect the recommendations of the independent pay review bodies.

In July it was revealed that most members of the armed forces are in line for a 2.9% rise, teachers and school staff 2.75%, police officers, dentists and consultants 2.5%, senior civil servants 2%

But the Tories did not set aside extra money for the increases meaning that they would have to come from existing budgets – effectively leading to cuts elsewhere.

While critics say the Tories' promised rise do not go far enough in dealing with the legacy of low pay in the public sector.

Labour say their plans would address that problem.

Their manifesto says: "Our most valuable assets are the dedicated people who work in our public services, but under this government their pay has been cut in real terms.

" Labour  will restore public sector pay to at least pre-financial crisis levels (in real terms), by delivering year-on-year above-inflation pay rises, starting with a 5 per cent increase, to reward and retain the people who do so much for us all."

The party says their plans would cost £5.3bn which would be funded through a range of tax hikes, including raising income tax for the richest 5% and increasing corporation tax.

The 105-page manifesto, titled 'It's Time for Real Change', includes a range of measures to improve working conditions and pay.

They would introduce a real living wage of at least £10 an hour for workers over 16-years-old, an end to restrictive trade union laws and an end to zero-hours contracts.

Labour have stuck with plans for a 4-day week despite internal disagreements about whether or not this should apply to NHS staff.

It also repeated plans for a new ministry of employment rights welcomed by trade union leaders.

Tim Roache, general secretary of the GMB, said: "We need real change, not tinkering around the edges of a system that was built by millionaires, in the interests of millionaires.

"Labour's manifesto shows how different things could be – the very richest in society paying their fair share to fund services we all rely on and build an economy that works for everyone."

Unite general secretary Len McCluskey, a close ally of the Labour leader, said: "When Labour wins, nurses win, teachers win, manufacturing workers win, car workers win, young people win and pensioners win."

And Dave Prentis, Unison general secretary, said it was "restoring the funding snatched from public services by the Tories' cold-hearted economic policies and gives dedicated public servants the wage rises they've been denied for so long".

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