Liberal Democrats say they will ensure employees in the public sector are no longer subject to real term cuts in their pay from the first full year of the next parliament. To do this, they will issue guidance to public sector pay review bodies to ensure pay increases at least in line with inflation in 2016/17 and 2017/18.
After that, they will make sure pay review bodies deliver an above inflation increase in public sector pay. This means a minimum pay rise of £350 for a nurse on £25,000, £420 for a police office on £30,000 and nearly £500 for a teacher on £35,000 over the next two years. the party say their balanced approach to the economy – tackling the deficit but doing it fairly – means the Liberal Democrats are the only party that can make this commitment.
The Conservatives' ideological cuts to public spending and Labour’s failure to tackle the deficit mean both parties will have to make further cuts to real terms pay. Public sector pay restraint, which was brought in to get the nation’s finances back on track, contributed over £12bn to the job of deficit reduction in this parliament.
Putting forward the proposals Liberal Democrat Leader Nick Clegg said: "Workers across the public sector have made enough sacrifices. You have done your bit to help get the country back on track. That’s why the Liberal Democrats believe it is time to end the era of pay restraint. Under our plans, we will give all public sector workers – from teachers and nurses to social workers and police officers – pay rises that at least keep pace with the cost of living every year. No more pay freezes or below inflation pay rises."
Mr Clegg continued: We can do this because with the Liberal Democrats, there is light at the end of the tunnel. For two years pay in the public sector will, at the very least, keep pace with prices. After that, we will make sure it rises above inflation – giving millions of workers a real terms pay rise for the first time in years. If you are a public sector worker worried Tory cuts threaten your job, or Labour’s refusal to deal with the deficit means another year of pay cuts, then only a vote for the Lib Dems will guarantee you a fair pay deal.”