Peter Hoskin

There could be a pay freeze, after all

Over at the FT’s Westminster blog, Jim Pickard picks up on an important comment from Stephen Timms, the Treasury minister, speaking at a committee meeting this morning.  Timms suggests that Treasury hasn’t ruled out a public sector pay freeze, as recommended by the Audit Commission’s Steve Bundred.  Here are the minister’s words:  

“It’s certain the case that our pay policy needs to reflect the wider economic circumstances … we will be deciding on pay policy over the next few weeks, the policy has got to be fair to people who work in the public sector just as we have to be fair to everybody else. The suggestion by Steve Bundred has made is certainly one we will reflect on but the details on that will be made over the next few weeks.”

If you recall, government sources recently moved to play down the possibility of a freeze – although their words seemed to cover existing multi-year pay deals, not new deals that are yet to be struck.  And you imagine that both Labour and the Tories will remain tetchy about this problematic issue.  But I suspect that fiscal necessity will push them further and further towards some sort of freeze.

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