Keir Starmer has declared that “public sector workers should get a pay rise” and “it’s absolutely wrong to freeze their pay at this time” after news emerged that ministers plan to award NHS staff with a real-terms pay cut.
The Department of Health and Social Care has recommended a 1% pay rise for most NHS workers in its submission to the pay review body. “Anything higher would require re-prioritisation,” the government document says.
In a BBC interview today, the Labour leader said of public sector workers: “They shouldn’t have their pay frozen. They have been keeping our country going throughout this pandemic and it’s absolutely wrong to freeze their pay at this time.”
He added: “We have to have a plan for the future, to rebuild the foundations of our country. You don’t do that by freezing the pay of those on the frontline throughout this pandemic… whilst at the same time giving people like Dominic Cummings a pay rise.”
On whether Labour’s position is “financially responsible”, Starmer said: “You’ve got to reward those on the frontline who have been keeping our country going for the last 12 months or more. Freezing their pay is a pay cut for them – that is wrong in principle.”
Pushed again on the demand for both pay rises and no tax rises, he replied: “What we need now is a recovery as swiftly as possible, and you don’t build that recovery by cutting expenditure and putting up taxes.”
All public sector workers "should get a pay rise, they shouldn't have their pay frozen" says Labour's Keir Starmer
— BBC Politics (@BBCPolitics) March 5, 2021