John McDonnell appeals to Tory backbenchers to scrap public sector pay cap
John McDonnell has urged Conservative MPs to back Labour’s plans to lift the pay cap on public sector workers, after Theresa May invited opposition parties to put forward policy ideas.
The Shadow Chancellor wrote to all Tory backbenchers in a bid to convince them to support scrapping a proposed cut to corporation tax in favour of uprating wages in line of inflation.
Mr McDonnell said that having corporation tax at 18% instead of 17% in 2020/21 could save £2.5bn to invest in public pay.
The Government confirmed yesterday that teachers would get another real-terms pay cut after ministers signed off on a settlement worth an extra 1% overall from September this year.
Mrs May will invite opposition parties to “contribute, not just criticise” in a speech later today.
“Come forward with your own views and ideas about how we can tackle these challenges as a country,” she will say.
“We may not agree on everything, but through debate and discussion – the hallmarks of our Parliamentary democracy – ideas can be clarified and improved and a better way forward found.”
Mr McDonnell said the outreach was evidence of a “directionless government”, as he urged Tory backbenchers to pile more pressure on the Government over the pay cap.
“What I have set out today is the cost of scheduled Tory tax giveaways to illustrate the consequences of political choices taken by successive Conservative Chancellors. I am now calling on Tory MPs to do the right thing and support Labour’s pledge to lift the public sector pay cap.
“I have written today to all backbench Conservative MPs to highlight the cost of planned tax giveaways and to set out how that money could be more fairly spent. I am calling on backbench Conservative MPs to put aside our party differences so that we can reward our public-sector workers for their hard work.
“The figures are clear, and they show it can be done, if the political decision is made. As this pay freeze is about political choice, not economic necessity…
“At a time when their wages are not keeping up with prices and many public sector workers are really struggling, politicians need to come together to recognise this and act – otherwise our public services will deteriorate and many working families will suffer.”