Midlands TUC Media
This blog contains material from the Midlands TUC. Our media releases will appear on this site as well as linking to the Midlands TUC website which hosts our enewsletters and much more.
Midlands coalition MPs vote to cut public servants pay
Since the government announced plans for
introducing local pay in this year's Budget, the TUC has expressed concern that
any move towards local or regional salaries could lead to a 'brain drain' of
public service professionals who would be more likely to go after jobs in the
more prosperous areas of the UK where pay rates were higher.
As a consequence the TUC has repeatedly called
on ministers to abandon their regional pay plans, believing them to be unfair,
divisive, hard to implement and with the risk that billions will be taken out
of local economies, accelerating the already growing north-south divide.
The impact of regionalised pay on the Midlands
is potentially severe. As a region that has suffered greatly, localised pay has
the potential to enforce ‘low wage ceilings’ across great swathes of the
What’s more, the effect of reducing public
sector pay in the Midlands would have a significant impact on the purchasing
power of workers in the Midlands – with a direct impact on local private sector
It is worth bearing in mind that the direct
effect of just a 1% reduction in income
on public sector earnings would lead to a loss of £119million in the East
Midlands and £131million in the West Midlands.In addition, there are significant multiplier
effects that could be calculated. Therefore these figures represent a
conservative estimate of the money that would be taken out of our regional
Clearly, taking this amount of money out of our
economy, especially at a time when we are struggling through a demand crisis
and double-dip recession is dangerous.
Proposals for regional pay could see over two
million public sector workers suffering an almost permanent pay freeze. Taking
money out of the pockets of hardworking dinner ladies, teachers and nurses will
not only increase the financial pressure on already hard-pressed families but
in undermining their spending power will hit also local high streets hard.
Nothing has been thought through properly and
rather than carry on regardless, ministers should look before they leap any
further. They should listen to the public. Nearly two-thirds of the public
(65%) believe that the introduction of local pay rates for public sector
employees would make it harder for schools in low-pay areas to attract and
retain good teachers.
Quite simply, by proposing to cut pay at a
time when we need to see wage-led growth is the wrong answer, to the wrong
question at precisely the wrong time.
Over the last few weeks the Midlands TUC have
been meeting dozens of Midlands MPs, from across the political spectrum, to
discuss the economic and practical realities of regional pay.
We have been explaining what regional pay would
mean, both for hard working public servants in our region and the potential
negative impact on our local economies in practice.
A Parliamentary debate on Regional Pay was held
on June 20th.
The two Liberal Democrat MPs in the Midlands, John Hemming MP and Lorely Burt MP, both signed a public
letter in the Guardian on 16th May in opposition to the introduction of
localised pay. However, it was disappointing to note that both John Hemming and
Lorely Burt both voted in favour of
Despite a couple of Conservative MPs from the
North East speaking out against the proposal, not one Midlands Tory MP voted
against the proposal.
were some interesting contributions from MPs from across the Midlands during
the debate.Aidan Burley, the Conservative MP for Cannock, was especially outspoken
and stated that “The Government are right
to look at more local, market-facing pay and to end the anomaly of national pay
Birmingham Northfield MP, challenged Aidan Burley with the following question: “The hon. Gentleman and I represent west
midlands constituencies. Will he answer this simple question: does he want to
bring down public-service pay in our region, and if so, by how much?”
Unfortunately, Mr Burley chose not to answer
contribution to the debate from a Midlands MP was form Chris Williamson, the Labour MP for Derby North. During his speech
mistake, Madam Deputy Speaker, the proposals for regional pay represent a naked
ideological assault on public services and on public service workers.” Chris
Williamson went on to say “this is yet another example of the fact that this
Government represent and stand up for the rich elite in our country, a
Government who are prepared to give tax cuts to millionaires while forcing pay
cuts on public sector workers.”
In total the breakdown of how Midlands MPs
voted at the end of the debate:
- 52 Conservative MPs voted for Regional Pay
- 2 Lib Dem MPs voted for Regional Pay
- 35 Labour MPs voted against Regional Pay
be noted that not all Midlands MPs were able to take part and vote due to other
commitments that meant they could not be present)
What is clear is that this issue is unpopular
with the public and is a threat to our regional economy and a barrier to
tackling regional inequalities.
The next milestone will be the publication of
the recommendations from the Pay Review Bodies . Let us all hope that the
Government see sense and drop these divisive, ill-considered proposals and work
towards generating jobs and growth rather than penalising, yet again, hard
working public service workers.