30 June 2017
Holyrood yesterday (29 June 2017) promised to scrapped the public sector pay cap in Scotland one day after Tory MPs cheered in Westminster after they voted down an amendment brought by Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott to end the cap and give emergency services a fair pay rise.
Derek Mackay, the Scottish Finance Secretary, told MSPs “the time is up” for the austerity measure, explaining: “The Scottish government will take into account inflation in the future pay policy.”
A GMB study recently found that public sector workers are facing a £4,000 cut in real wages by 2020 because of the government’s pay freeze.
It has been a week of u-turns on the issue for the Tory party. On Wednesday, Downing Street appeared to be backing down on the public sector pay cap, saying it would “listen to the messages that were sent at the election” and review its policy. But within hours, press reports suggested the Treasury was putting pressure on the Prime Minister to withdraw this statement. By the afternoon, an official spokesman for Theresa May had clarified that “the [pay cap] policy has not changed”.
Later that day, Abbott brought her amendment to the Queen’s Speech, which would “commend the response of the emergency services to the recent terrorist attacks and to the Grenfell Tower fire; call on the government to recruit more police officers and fire-fighters; and further call on the government to end the public sector pay cap and give the emergency and public services a fair pay rise.”
Tory MPs were heard cheering in the House of Commons when it was announced they had defeated the motion by 323 to 309.