Government announces end to public sector pay cap

Posted On: 
12th September 2017

The seven-year cap on public sector pay has been dropped, Downing St has announced. 

Police officers are among the first to benefit from the lifting of the pay cap

After concerted campaigning from trade unions, Labour and a number of Tory MPs, Number 10 confirmed today that prison staff and police officers would be among the first workers to benefit.

But trade unions blasted the offer as "pathetic", arguing that it does not compensate for years of real-terms wage cuts.

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Millions of workers have seen their pay packets fall since a freeze on salaries was announced in 2010, followed by pay rises being capped at 1% from 2013 onwards.

Prison officers will get a 1.7% rise in 2017/18, while police officers will get a 2% overall boost, the Prime Minister's spokesman said. 

However, with inflation last month at 2.9%, it means those salaries are still not keeping pace with the cost of living.

The announcement confirms reports earlier this month that Theresa May was planning to address problems with recruitment and retention of state workers by loosening pay restraint.

The spokesman said ministers would still be focused on "pay discipline" in the coming years, but that "more flexibility" was needed to address staffing issues.


The general secretary of the TUC, Frances O'Grady, hit out at the Government over the offer.

“This below-inflation pay offer is pathetic.

“Public sector workers have suffered seven long years of real pay cuts, and are thousands of pounds worse off. Today’s announcement means bills will continue to rise faster than their wages.

“If Ministers think a derisory rise like this will deal with the staffing crisis in our public services, they are sorely mistaken.”