Public sector pay cap move sparks Welwyn Hatfield backlash
PUBLISHED: 15:35 13 September 2017 | UPDATED: 15:35 13 September 2017
The Government's decision to lift the public sector pay cap for police and prison officers has sparked a backlash in Welwyn Hatfield.
The Conservatives yesterday announced that the police would get a one per cent rise, with an additional one-off one per cent sum added for the next year, while prison officers would see a 1.7 per cent increase.
However, ministers are facing a backlash from all sides of the public sector – as with inflation at 2.9 per cent the increase still represents an annual real-terms pay cut.
Vojislav Mihailovic, general secretary of the Hertfordshire Police Federation, said officers have told him that they think the way it has been handled is “disgusting”.
“It’s a big smoke and mirrors situation because it’s a one per cent increase in basic pay and the one per cent bonus, which is for one year only,” he said.
“Their [the Government] headline is ‘we are paying the police two per cent [more]’, but actually they have completely ignored the independent review body’s findings that there needs to be a two percent increase in basic pay.”
Although the cap has been raised for the police, no additional funding will be provided by the Government – sparking fears that pay increases could threaten services.
But Welwyn Hatfield’s Tory MP Grant Shapps said: “Recovering from Labour’s great recession has been an enormous task.
“The deficit has been brought down from spending ten per cent more than the country collects to just a couple of per cent – but we are not there yet.
“In my view awarding public service workers for their hard work and dedication is essential, which is why I welcome the Government accepting the outcome that the pay review body made and coming off the one per cent freeze at this time.”
Labour’s Anawar Miah, who ran against Mr Shapps in June, said: “Our dedicated public servants have already suffered seven long years of real pay cuts.
“Not only are the police and prison officers – only to whom this selective cap-lifting applies – still getting real-terms pay cuts, but our NHS and other public sector staff are being completely ignored and continue to suffer.”
A WGC teacher, who wished to remain unnamed, added: “I think the Government is cherry-picking who they are taking the cap off for and that’s not right. How do they decide who is more worthy?”