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Lib Dems promise end to public sector pay cuts

The Liberal Democrats would put an end to five years of pay cuts for public sector workers if they are in power after the election, Nick Clegg has said.

He has called for an end to real-terms cuts to their pay, arguing that it is time for public sector employees to share the benefits of economic recovery.

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.”

The party would issue guidance to pay review bodies to ensure public sector salaries rise at least by CPI inflation for two years, which is predicted to rise by 0.2% in 2016-17, and 1.2% in 2017-18, and above inflation after those years.

The party said the plans would mean a minimum pay rise of £350 over two years for a nurse paid £25,000 a year, £420 for a police office on £30,000 and nearly £500 for a teacher on £35,000.

The deputy PM added: “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. 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.”

However, public sector unions were sceptical about the plans.

Mark Serwotka, general secretary of the PCS union, said: “The Lib Dems have spent five years with the Tories cutting the pay, pensions and jobs of public servants.

“This Damascene conversion on the eve of electoral humiliation, coming from the party that pledged not to increase tuition fees, will be seen for what it is.”

Unison general secretary Dave Prentis said: “Public sector workers have paid a high price under austerity – years of wage freezes and capped pay meant tough times across local government and the NHS.

“But now that the economic picture is improving, it's time to make good the damage done to household budgets by years of falling real pay.

“Public servants deserve a decent pay rise - one that puts their living standards back on a much firmer footing.”

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