The Government has confirmed that police and prison officers will no longer be subject to the 1% pay cap.
Downing Street stated that prison officers would receive an average 1.7% pay increase while police officers will get an additional pay totalling 2% for 2017 and 2018.
Number 10 also noted that ministers are ready to display “flexibility” in the public sector pay round for the years 2018 and 2019.
When asked whether the introduction of flexibility in pay adjustments indicated that the cap was over, the spokesperson answered: “The answer is yes.”
The progress came amidst pressure from unions and Labour to discard the policy that was first introduced seven years ago. However, unions were not impressed with the efforts of the Government.
The GMB union stated that more pay for prison and police officers is “smoke and mirror politics” that ridicules public sector workers.
The TUC’s general secretary, Frances O’Grady, pointed out that the increase was still below the 2.9% inflation rate.
“They need to offer a real pay rise across the (public) sector, no cherry picking,” said O’Grady.
The Police Federation of England and Wales’ chairman, Steve White, said that the announcement was a “step in the right direction”. However, he noted that it did not go far enough.
The Federation had proposed for an increase to the basic pay of 2.8%.
“Police officers do not join the service to make huge amounts of money, they do it out of a sense of duty and this year, in particular, have been tested to the max,” said Mr White.
“However, they expect to be paid suitably for the immensely demanding role they perform, and this simply is not the case.”
Elizabeth Truss, Chief Secretary to the Treasury, stated: “Our talented and hard-working public-sector workers deserve to have fulfilling jobs that are fairly rewarded, and I am pleased to confirm the pay awards for police and prison officers for 2017/18.
“The Government takes a balanced approach to public spending, dealing with our debts to keep our economy strong, while also making sure we invest in our public services.”
Sir Vince Cable, Liberal Democrat leader, welcomed the move, stating: “It is good to see the Government finally recognise that the public sector pay cap is no longer sustainable.
“The cap must now be lifted across the board so all public sector workers are given the pay rise they deserve.”