Skint nurses, firefighters and police seem no closer to knowing if their 1% pay rise cap will end after seven years of painful Tory austerity.
The Tory government is in chaos after trying to shut down talk of a public sector pay rise – three hours after starting it.
Skint nurses, firefighters and police are now little closer to knowing if their 1% pay rise cap will end after seven years of painful Tory austerity.
A Tory spokesman had hinted at dramatic change after Jeremy Corbyn forced a vote, due at 7pm tonight, to write the cap out of the Queen’s Speech.
At 1pm, the spokesman said Theresa May had “heard the message” of the election and would listen to “pay reviews” which have branded the cap unsustainable.
His comments may have calmed down MPs ahead of tonight’s vote – which Jeremy Corbyn needs just seven Tory rebels to win.
But pressed for more detail at 4pm, the Prime Minister’s official spokesman in No10 then told journalists repeatedly: “Our policy has not changed”.
While that still leaves the door open to scrapping the cap, the apparent U-turn on a U-turn – in terms of tone – has left confusion over whether the cap will stay or not.
Scrapping the cap would be a huge victory for Labour and Jeremy Corbyn, who made ditching the cap a centrepiece manifesto pledge.
Public sector workers such as nurses and firefighters had their pay frozen for two years thanks to Tory austerity in 2010. Rises have then been capped at 1% a year since 2012.
The restraint means wages have lagged far behind rising prices and has led to horror stories of nurses turning to food banks.
It has been described as a 14% real-terms pay cut for nursing staff, who are now at least £3,000 a year worse off.
A Tory spokesman said at 1pm: “We heard the message in the election that people are weary after years of hard work to rebuild the mess Labour left behind.