Margaret Greenwood MP calls on government to end public sector pay cap

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05 Jul 2017
In a debate on the public sector pay cap called by the Opposition today in Parliament, Margaret Greenwood MP has called on the government to end the public sector pay cap as public employees such as nurses, teachers and police officers face the challenge of coping with rising bills for food, fuel and train fares while their wages are not keeping pace.

According to the latest figures (for September 2015), there were an estimated 27,000 public sector employees working in Wirral, which was 27% of all employees here.

At the same time there were around 9,000 public sector employees working in Wirral West, 47% of all employees in the constituency, with Arrowe Park Hospital being a major employer, for example.

By comparison, 20% of all employees working in the North West and 18% of all employees working in Great Britain were working in the public sector.

It is worth noting that these figures are based on where employees work, rather than where they live – some people living in the Wirral will commute to other areas for work, and vice versa.

Margaret Greenwood MP said:

“I am calling on the government to end the public sector pay cap.

“We all depend on the hard work and dedication of public sector workers like nurses, teachers and police officers.

“However, a report published this week by a government agency, the Office of Manpower Economics, shows that their median real earnings fell by 3% between 2005 and 2015.

“Since 2015 basic household bills for food, fuel and transport have risen sharply, in particular since the EU referendum last June, further eroding the real value of wages.

“Today, 5th July, is the anniversary of the creation of the NHS.

“NHS consultants in Wirral have told me that staff morale is at an all-time low and that this is leading to problems in recruiting and retaining staff.

“A much higher than average percentage of workers in Wirral are public sector employees: 27% compared with 20% of workers in the North West overall and 18% of employees in the UK.

“Money earned in the public sector is of course spent in the private sector, supporting local shops, restaurants, building firms and other businesses, so public sector pay is an important issue for the local economy.

“Public employees have seen the value of their pay reduced significantly in recent years. It’s time for the government to remove the public sector pay cap.”

The new report published by the Office of Manpower Economics on Monday showed that between 2005 and 2015 median hourly earnings in 32 public sector occupations fell by 3% overall. The figures for particular occupations are below.

Occupation  Median real earnings per hour in 2005 Median real earnings per hour in 2015
 School teachers  £25  £22
 Police officers  £20  £18
 Doctors   £38  £30
 Prison officers  £16  £15


Hourly median real earnings for nurses rose from £16 an hour in 2005 to £17 an hour in 2010, but then fell back again to just over £16 in 2015.

The Foreign Secretary, the Environment, Education and Health Secretaries have all been reported this week as wanting to see an end to the public sector pay cap, despite having voted against an Opposition Amendment to the Queen’s Speech last week calling for an end to the public sector pay cap.

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