The Government has tonight won a vote in the House of Commons after an amendment was tabled by the Labour Party to end the cap on public sector pay increases. There had been confusion during the day over whether the Conservative Party would u-turn, but Downing Street confirmed that there had been no change in policy.
The Conservative Party, with the support of all DUP MPs, won the vote in the House of Commons by 323 votes to 309. During the debate some Conservative MPs, as well as former Ministers, argued that the cap should be reviewed.
Jeremy Hunt, the Health Secretary, said during the debate in the Commons:
“People will recognise that in the very difficult period that we have just had, it would not have been possible to increase the number of doctors by nearly 12,000 and the number of nurses in our wards by nearly 13,000 if we had not taken difficult decisions on pay. What I can say is that we will not make our decision on public sector pay until the pay review body has reported. We will listen to what it says, and to what people in this House have said, before making a final decision”.
Jeremy Corbyn, the Leader of the Opposition, said in a statement:
“You can’t have safety and security on the cheap. It is plain to see that seven years of cuts to our emergency services has made us less safe; it’s time to make a change. Our emergency service workers make us proud at the worst of times for our country, such as the Grenfell Tower Fire and the recent terrorist attacks, and deserve the pay rise they have been denied for seven years. Conservative cuts have failed. Labour has a different approach, which values those who look after us and will transform Britain for the many not the few”.
Alistair Carmichael, the Liberal Democrat Chief Whip, said in a statement:
“The government must listen to the overwhelming tide of public opinion and give our police, firefighters and nurses a pay rise. But Labour must be honest and admit we won’t be able to pay for strong public services by crashing the economy through an extreme Brexit. Labour MPs who want to protect funding for our police, schools and hospitals should back amendments calling for Britain to stay in the single market. This is a unique chance to force Theresa May to rethink her extreme approach to Brexit, Labour must not be on the wrong side of history”.