The Prospect union for professionals condemned the Tory party’s proposals for a public sector pay freeze in 2011, announced today by shadow chancellor George Osborne on the heels of the government pay curbs disclosed last night.
Dai Hudd, Deputy General Secretary, said the planned freeze directly contradicted Tory leader David Cameron’s pledge this summer not to impose a public sector pay freeze in 2010 because he did not know what the rate of inflation would be next year.
“How on earth can he now know what the rate of inflation will be in 2011?” asked Hudd. “What is certain is that it will be a lot higher than today, so millions of public servants will be condemned to a severe cut in living standards just when the economy will be crying out for consumers to increase spending.”
Turning to the government’s public sector curbs, Hudd said the Cabinet Office and the Treasury had been unable to spell out any further details at meetings held today with civil service unions.
“We are no clearer on what the impact of this announcement will be. But we do know that the cuts will save a mere fraction of the government pay bill and an even smaller fraction of the public sector deficit – less than 0.1%,” said Hudd. “This is politically motivated tokenism of the worst kind. It is a cynical ploy designed to grab the headlines while doing nothing to resolve the problems it pretends to cure.
“Our members will have the right to contrast the political expediency of ministers at seeking out a ‘soft touch’ for immediate headlines, to their prevarication and inaction over the bonuses paid to executives in publicly-owned banks where the returns to the Exchequer would be far greater and more justified.”
Hudd said this issue would feature prominently at a forthcoming meeting between civil service unions and the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Liam Byrne, on 28 October.