Boris Johnson will end public sector pay freezes, says Matt Hancock
Boris Johnson would scrap public sector pay freezes if he becomes Prime Minister, his Conservative campaign ally Matt Hancock has said.
Mr Hancock, the Health Secretary, told The Times that the Tory leadership frontrunner would "show the public sector some love" if he won the race to enter Number 10.
Public sector pay was frozen for two years as part of the austerity programme launched by David Cameron's government, before annual rises were then capped at 1% until 2017.
Many public sector workers have seen their wage rises held below inflation since then.
But Mr Hancock said: “Now that there's money available we need to show the public sector some love - they do a brilliant job for the country.
”People in the public sector need to be properly rewarded for the brilliant job they do.
"Higher pay, not higher taxes, means a pay rise for everyone, including in the public sector."
In a thinly-veiled dig at Mr Johnson's rival Jeremy Hunt - who became locked in a bitter dispute with junior doctors when he was Health Secretary - Mr Hancock added: "I’ve just settled the junior doctors’ dispute with an 8 per cent pay rise over several years.
"The agreement we struck with the junior doctors shows that the days of pay freezes are over.”
'THERE IS CASH'
The pledge to end the public sector pay freezes is the latest big-money spending commitment from Mr Johnson's campaign.
The Tory leadership hopeful has promised a £4.6bn-a-year boost to education spending by 2022/23, a 20,000 increase in police officer numbers, and has vowed to pump money into Britain's broadband network.
At the same time, he has pledged to increase the income tax higher rate threshold from £50,000 to £80,000 and raise the point at which people start paying National Insurance in a bid to help low earners.
Mr Johnson this weekend argued that his tax cuts would "actually increase" money entering the Treasury's coffers because they would "stimulate growth".
He also pledged to use some of the £25bn of fiscal "headroom" set aside by Chancellor Philip Hammond in the event of a deal being struck with the European Union to fund some of his pledges.
"Believe me there is cash now available," he told host Sophy Ridge.
Mr Johnson added: "I think at the moment there is the headroom available and we intend to use it. I also think you can do some great things to stimulate economic growth with tax cuts."