Downing Street suggested that with inflation – which has hit 9.1% today – a across-the-board pay rise for public sector workers would be “reckless” because it would drive up prices even further and render their money “worthless”. .
Downing Street today warned that a across-the-board real wage hike would be “reckless” for Brits as Boris Johnson tailed despite a “summer of discontent”.
The Prime Minister’s official spokesman hit back when he announced that 5.5 million public sector workers will increase their wages by less than inflation.
Inflation hit a new 40-year high at 9.1% this morning – meaning nurses, teachers and other workers would need a 9.1% increase to stand still.
But Boris Johnson’s spokesman said that would “chase inflation with wages”, pushing inflation further up and therefore rendering the hike “worthless”.
Teachers’ union NEW wrote to the government today threatening strikes from October if they don’t get an “inflation plus” hike.
Railway staff have already left, and Royal Mail workers and criminal lawyers are among other groups threatening to go on strike this summer.
But the Prime Minister’s spokesman said: “We will continue to explain to the public why we believe this is the right approach.
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“And we’re confident that the public will understand that if we took action now, reckless action that could push up inflation, it would have a bigger impact on their earnings in the long term.”
“It’s important to stress that this doesn’t mean we don’t want to reward public sector workers with a raise, we do.
“We just have to make sure we don’t do anything that would have a knock-on effect that feeds this global inflationary spiral.”
Despite the tough stance, No. 10 defended plans to give beneficiaries and retirees an above-inflation rise in April 2023.
This is because its increase will be based on inflation in September this year, which will be around 10% and then fall back until next spring.
Many activists say a hike is long overdue because benefits and pensions have risen less than inflation this year. But it has sparked comparisons between retirees and millions of public sector workers who will pocket less.
The Prime Minister’s spokesman said pensions would not have the same “spill-over effect” on the broader economy as wage increases.
Asked if we were “all in this together”, the spokesman said: “We need to look at what is fair and right and what is best for the British public as a whole.”
When asked what was reckless about a 10 percent pay rise, he replied: “It’s about chasing inflation with wages so you end up driving inflation higher and higher and therefore means that wages, the that people take home are worth less.
“It’s not what the public wants, it’s not what we want. So you have to think carefully.”
When he said some workers would be surprised if he described a decent pay rise as “reckless,” he replied, “Only if you take the words out of context and don’t add the important caveat that it’s because they’re directly if it spiraled into inflation and the money they had was worthless.
“Nobody wants to see that. It’s a difficult balance and the Chancellor and Prime Minister are focused on that.”
Keir Starmer’s spokesman hit back: “The biggest threat to inflation in this country has been created by a Prime Minister who has lost control of this economy.”
https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/politics/no10-brands-real-pay-rise-27301120 No10 marks a real pay rise for 5million Brits who are 'reckless' as summer of discontent looms