The Tory Minister for Policing took a bruising on Sky News this evening when discussing the Government’s decision to ditch its 1% cap on pay for all public sector workers.
Host Kay Burley pulled no punches and left Nick Hurd scrambling for answers he did not have as he was pushed on pay cuts vs pay freezes and recruitment.
The Cabinet has agreed that police would get 2% and prison officers 1.7% in 2017/18, and declared that “more flexibility” would be shown to millions of other staff furious with years of real terms pay cuts.
The Government is scrapping the public sector pay cap which has limited rises to a maximum of 1% for the past seven years.
The announcement came as ministers approved an average 1.7% rise for prison officers and improvements for police pay totalling 2% for 2017/18, reports the Press Association.
From 2018/19, the Government will be ready to show “flexibility” in areas where there is evidence of problems with recruitment, retention and skills shortages, said Prime Minister Theresa May’s official spokesman.
Asked whether the introduction of flexibility in pay settlements meant that the cap was over, the spokesman said: “The answer is yes.”
The move on the pay cap comes after intense pressure from unions and the Labour Party for an end to the period of restraint which saw a two-year freeze when the Conservative-led coalition government came to power, followed by the 1% cap starting in 2013.
At a meeting of Cabinet chaired by Mrs May in 10 Downing Street, ministers approved a pay body recommendation of 1.7% average rises for prison officers for 2017/18 in order to tackle shortages of staff and expertise.
Police will receive a 1% hike in basic pay along with a 1% non-consolidated increase for 2017/18 – a one-year lump sum which will not necessarily be continued in future years.