North Herts council moves to fight pay cap for its staff
PUBLISHED: 11:52 30 November 2017
A Labour Party motion to scrap the government’s current public sector pay cap has been moved by North Herts District Council, with support given across all parties.
The Conservative-controlled council’s vote at a meeting last Thursday came after this year’s autumn budget highlighted a higher rate of inflation resulting in a rise in the national minimum wage, but no promises as to when the public sector’s one per cent pay cap would be lifted.
This means pay is effectively frozen for all the North Herts authority’s staff.
Labour group leader Councilor Frank Radcliffe, who represents Hitchin Oughton ward, motioned to urge central government to scrap the public pay cap. Councillor Ian Albert seconded the motion.
After an amendment, the motion stated: “NHDC recognises and values the work of its employees and those across the breadth of the public sector.
“It acknowledges that the government’s imposition over many years of a public sector pay cap of one per cent has resulted in wages in the public sector falling considerably behind the yearly UK rate of inflation.
“This has meant a real terms pay cut for our employees, causing some families to live in increasing poverty. It has also led to difficulties in recruitment and made public sector employees feel undervalued.
“This council urges government to scrap the public sector pay cap. We also urge the government to adequately fund councils to pay their staff a decent pay rise in line with the cost of living.”
Mr Albert, who represents Hitchin Bearton, told this paper: “We thought following the budget that it was really critical for the council to demonstrate how much we value the work of our local government staff and of course public sector workers generally.
“We thought that the best way to do that was to debate this in council to show we do value our staff and we think the chancellor has yet again failed to make the changes necessary in the public sector pay cap.
“It’s time to lift the pay cap after seven years, when some workers are really struggling, particularly the lower paid staff.
“We need to see a funded pay rise. Some of these workers have not had any pay rise at all, and some might have had only one per cent. Our workers deserve a decent pay rise and standard of living.”