03 July 2017
It seems there are more u-turns ahead for the Tories as pressure mounts on the government to end the 1% cap on public sector pay rises.
Police Minister Nick Hurd has confirmed in the House of Commons today that that the policy is “under active discussion”, the latest in a series of contradictory statements from the government on the issue.
There have been wide reports of a split at the heart of the Tory Party, with suggestions last week that Chancellor Philip Hammond had put pressure on the Prime Minister to backtrack on a promise to review the cap. These rumours have been fueled today by public statements made by frontbenchers Boris Johnson, Michael Gove and Jeremy Hunt all backing the end of the pay freeze.
However, there is speculation that the apparently rebellious positions of the cabinet ministers has more to do with Tory in fighting than their beliefs on public sector wages. Indeed, this is supported by the fact that all three ministers voted against an end to the public sector pay cap last week when the issue was brought to parliament by the Labour Party. In fact, many Tory MPs were heard cheering the result of that vote, which saw emergency service workers denied a pay rise after seven years of austerity.
Two recent surveys have shown that public opinion is turning against austerity measures, with the TUC’s post-election poll of 3,000 voters revealing that 80% of Conservative Party voters want to see an end to the pay cap and most respondents to the latest British Social Attitudes survey from the National Centre for Social Research said they wanted the government to spend more on public services.
The official response from Downing Street today has been that there will be no change to policy until at least April 2018.