MPs reject Labour bid to recruit more emergency workers and scrap public sector pay cap

Posted On: 
28th June 2017

A Labour bid to force the Government to recruit more police officers and firefighters while also lifting the cap on public sector pay has been defeated.

Hospital staff are among those whose pay has been capped at 1% since 2010.
Credit: 
PA Images

MPs voted 323 to 309 against an amendment the party had laid down to the Queen's Speech.

It was the first Commons vote since the general election - and the first test of the Tory-DUP pact to prop up Theresa May's minority government.

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Under the terms of the deal, an extra £1bn will be spent on health, education and other public projects in the province.

The vote followed a day of confusion in which Downing Street signalled it was preparing to lift the 1% cap on public sector wage rises, only to backtrack three hours later after concerns were raised by Chancellor Philip Hammond.

Reacting to the result, Jeremy Corbyn said: "Although government ministers said they had learned the lessons of the general election and were listening to voters, it is clear that nothing has changed.

"They had the perfect opportunity to walk the walk, but instead they marched through the lobby to show Tory austerity is business as usual.

"While the money is there when the Conservatives need it to keep themselves in office, the rest of the country now face more devastating cuts to our emergency and other vital services."

Unite general secretary Len McCluskey said: "Now we can see exactly what this Bung Parliament will mean for working people.

"£1 billion from Theresa May keeps her job but denies millions of ordinary workers the few quid they desperately need to start to repair the damage caused by seven years of Tory wage pain.

"How dare the Tories ever again praise our emergency heroes, or look the people who teach our children, clean our streets or tend to our sick in the eye.

"This vote shows exactly who is on the side of working people - and it is not the Tories."

Janet Davies, chief executive and general secretary of the Royal College of Nursing said: "This is a bitter disappointment for nurses and others in the public sector. At lunchtime, there were signs the Government was listening to our calls but by the evening they voted to keep the pay cap in place. Our members’ summer of protest campaign continues.

"But we also know that a growing number on the Government’s own benches agree the cap should be scrapped. We will continue to build cross-party support this summer. If the Prime Minister intends to address pay in an autumn Budget, she should do so without delay."

The key vote on the whole Queen's Speech will take place tomorrow.