Official figures show UK Government proposals to introduce regional difference in public sector pay are 'flawed' and should be dropped, according to the Welsh Finance Minister. Jane Hutt says the figures undermine claims that there's a large gap between pay in private and public sectors in Wales.
In a written ministerial statement, Ms Hutt says the research by the Office of National Statistics shows that there is no definitive way of estimating any such gap.
This new research confirms our view that regional, or 'local-market', public sector pay policy would not only be misguided; it would also be unfair. It would target women and the lowest paid workers, exacerbating pay gaps between men and women. The Welsh Government makes no excuses for trying to protect the low paid and promoting equality by reducing, not increasing, the gender pay gap and I call on the UK Government to immediately withdraw any suggestion that it endorses such a misguided and flawed policy.
– Jane Hutt AM, Finance Minister
A Welsh Government source said:
We have always maintained that regional pay was an ill-conceived idea. With every month that passes, it's becoming increasingly clear this move would be a disaster on all levels for public sector workers in Wales - and indeed all other parts of the UK, outside of the South East of England. The time has come for the UK Government to drop this idea once and for all.
Rachel Reeves MP, Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury visited the Senedd for the first time today . She was in Cardiff to meet with business leaders and labour colleagues to campaign against proposals by the Westminister Government to bring in regional pay for public sector workers.
Nick Clegg has rebutted the suggestion of 'mixed messages' from his Cabinet colleagues over the issue of regional pay, insisting that they are "entirely consistent".
"There isn't a question of any regional pay" he said, talking to Political Editor Adrian Masters this morning. Mr Clegg said that any changes to public sector pay, such as the "local facing market-based pay" being studied by pay review bodies, would be "done sensitively".
"Nothing's being imposed from above, and nothing's any different to how it was under Labour when they introduced local-facing pay in the courts service" he said.
The First Minister Carwyn Jones says he's not convinced by Vince Cable's reassurances on regional pay. The Business Secretary claims it's a scare story that the UK government will impose low pay on public sector workers across Wales.
He is part of a UK Government that wants to introduce regional pay for public sector workers in Wales, cutting wages in some of our poorest communities. People in Wales won’t be fooled by his weasel words.
Business Secretary Vince Cable has said the idea that the UK government is planning to impose lower pay rates on public sector workers across Wales is a 'wild exaggeration' and that he would only support 'limited local arrangements'.
The idea that we want to impose lower pay rates on Wales is absolutely wrong.
– Business Secretary Vince Cable MP
Mr Cable is visiting Welsh companies. It's been estimated that private sector workers in Wales receive 18% less than if they were in the public sector. The Conservative Chancellor, George Osborne, has asked NHS and teachers' pay review bodies to look at the the idea of regional variations in pay
The Chancellor has also told government departments that they can consider regional pay for their civil servants. But the Business Secretary, who's a Liberal Democrat, says that the UK coalition government has reached absolutely no agreement on regional pay at the moment.