We store cookies on your device to make sure we give you the best experience on this website. I'm fine with this - Turn cookies off
Switch to an accessible version of this website which is easier to read. (requires cookies)

Government urged to end public sector pay cap

July 11, 2017 6:06 PM

Lib Dem councillors in Leeds are calling for the government to offer a fairer deal on public sector pay.

Councillor Sandy Lay (Otley and Yeadon) will move a motion at this Wednesday's (12th July) full meeting of council, which calls for the Chancellor of the Exchequer to lift the 1% cap on pay increases in the public sector.

The policy of below inflation pay rises has been blamed in part for staff shortages in some services, with the number of nurses leaving the profession now greater than the number joining, adding to the strain on the NHS services.

Government policy has restricted public sector pay awards, including council workers to 1% over the last three years. This was preceded by two years of no pay rises at all.

This has meant that wage rises have lagged behind increases in the cost of living for public sector staff over the last five years, with increased inflation over the last 12 months making this issue even more acute. In comparison, wage growth for the economy as a whole over the last five years has averaged 1.7%.

Cllr Sandy Lay (Lib Dem, Otley and Yeadon) is moving the motion and is himself a nurse. He said:

"There are a lot of people employed by the council who are really struggling because for many years, steep increases in the cost of living haven't been matched by the pay they're taking home.

"In my own profession of nursing, people are quitting at a faster rate than they're joining and low pay is one of the biggest reasons for this.

"It's right that a lot of the focus on this debate has been on teachers, nurses and emergency services workers. But it's important we don't forget the council staff who work just as hard in our care homes, collecting the bins or protecting vulnerable children and who have been subject to real terms pay cuts as severe as anywhere else in the public sector.

"This is an issue that is attracting support from across the political divide and I hope that all parties in Leeds will be able to support this motion this week."