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Inflation-matching pay rises for public sector ‘unaffordable’, says minister

Inflation-matching pay rises for public sector ‘unaffordable’, says minister


nflation-matching pay rises for public sector workers are “unaffordable”, Transport Secretary Mark Harper has said.

Amid strikes across multiple industries in the public sector – notably transport workers and nurses – Mr Harper said “the public purse can’t afford” pay rises matching inflation which now stands at 11.1 per cent.

“I think inflation-matching or inflation busting pay rises are unaffordable.

“And I think we want to try and give all the workers in the public sector who work very hard decent pay rises, but they can’t be inflation busting,” Mr Harper told Sky’s Sophy Ridge.

“You’ve got to be honest with people, the public purse won’t afford inflation busting pay rises for everybody in the public sector.”

The Royal College of Nursing confirmed this month that nurses in around half of all NHS trusts would walk out on December 15 and 20 in a dispute over pay.

The first walkout will come just two days after the RMT union stages a strike on Britain’s railways on December 13, with further action to come on seven dates stretching into January as part of the latest set of strikes across the transport network this year.

Royal Mail workers and university lecturers have also carried out industrial action over pay, pensions, jobs and conditions.

Speaking later to the BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg, said that reforms are needed of the transport system in order to free up savings to fund an enhanced pay offer.

He also insisted that due to external factors, a balance is needed on what is affordable.

“There’s been quite a lot of progress made. Quite a lot of work has been done and I want to work with both sides,” Mr Harper said.

“We have to agree on a set of reforms. It’s the reforms that free up the savings. These things have to happen in parallel.”

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