Time to end the pay squeeze

Mary Glindon, MP for North Tyneside.
Mary Glindon, MP for North Tyneside.

Many readers work in the public services, look after us, and make life smoother.

They and their families have faced a wage squeeze for many years as part of the Government’s austerity programme.

In 2010, the Government imposed a two-year public sector pay freeze and then a pay cap set at one per cent.

For many pay has only increased by five per cent in seven years while inflation, which measures increases in the cost of living, increased by 21 per cent. This means the value of public sector pay has been slashed substantially.

As one who worked for many years in the public sector and am a strong supporter of the PCS union in Parliament, I am deeply concerned about the impact on staff and the loss of spending power in the local economy.

I recently asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer in the Commons what message he will send to the thousands of public and civil servants who will be at the march, organised by the TUC, on May 12, asking for a fully funded, above-inflation pay rise.

It is time to abandon the cap and financing pay settlements raises issues of fairness in tax policy.

This Government has chosen to give tax breaks to the better off and this has been at the cost of lower-paid workers.

That should end if we are to boost our economy and make sure we retain workers in the public sector.

I wish the march well and will continue to bat for public sector workers.