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Pay rises without cash mean more cuts to schools and the police

July 22, 2020 1:43 PM
mswq (Thanks to King's Church International for sharing their work on Unsplash.)It was good news that the Government has accepted the Independent pay body recommendations for inflation beating pay increases for 900000 public sector workers. Pay levels after inflation for many remain lower than in 2010 but nonetheless it is a recognition of their efforts during lock-down when many continued to work

Responding to these reports that public sector workers will receive a pay rise out of existing departmental budgets, Liberal Democrat Acting Leader Ed Davey said:

Accepting the independent review body's pay recommendations was the very least the Chancellor could do. Yet, as overall budgets remain unchanged, the reality is our schools, police and wider public services will struggle to meet this award without significant cuts elsewhere in their budgets, including redundancies.

And utterly failing to recognise the outstanding effort of social care staff during the COVID-19 crisis is simply not acceptable. Councils and the wider care sector must be properly funded.

Since the early days of this pandemic, Liberal Democrats have been the first to argue for a better deal for NHS and care staff, yet Ministers seem to think that warm words and hand claps are sufficient. Boris Johnson should be ashamed for neglecting NHS and care staff again.
What is not clear however is what the longer tern strategy is. Responding to Office for National Statistics showing that Government borrowing for June was £35.5 billion - around five times more than the same month last year - Acting Leader of the Liberal Democrats Ed Davey said:
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In an unprecedented economic challenge like the coronavirus pandemic people must come before the numbers. Any Chancellor should go beyond normal borrowing to help protect peoples' health and livelihoods.

What the Government must now make clear is that, after Covid, higher debt will not and must not mean cuts to vital public services or less investment for our crumbling infrastructure - especially in the parts of the UK that need it most.

Liberal Democrats stand firm that we must grow our way out of this crisis with a Green Recovery Plan that will invest billions to transform our economy, fight climate change and create millions of good-quality jobs.

The Prime Minister has said there will be no more austerity cuts which implies even more borrowing or tax rises. Our debt is currently at levels not seen since 1961 when the countries debt last exceeded the total annual production of the country. With interest rates so low at present it is possible we will continue high levels of borrowing which at some time will need repaying probably by future generations but it is almost certain taxes will have to rise. No mention is currently made of this. We need to be told how public services will be protected and paid for in the future