Police and prison officers set for rise as minsters ready to lift public sector pay cap

Police officers are first in line for the rise in pay Credit: PA
  • Video report by ITV News Political Correspondent Paul Brand

For police and prison officers a long running campaign to "scrap the cap" is coming to an end.

The recommendation from the independent public sector pay review bodies to lift the 1% cap on their pay is expected to be approved by ministers this week - a clear indication that other public-sector workers should expect the same.

Just a few days ago nurses were protesting against the cap outside Westminster; they will take this as a sign improved pay could come to them too.

This is a significant announcement, effectively ending the age of austerity.

Steve White, the police federation chairman, has welcomed the move, saying it goes towards "redressing the balance" for "over-stretched and underpaid" police officers.

But he also warned the move "should not detract from the fact that the police service and the officers we represent have borne the brunt of extreme cuts for far too long".

Public sector pay was frozen for two years back in 2010 when the coalition government came to power.

Since 2013, rises have been capped at 1% but there's been a sense of movement towards lifting the pay cap ever since the election in June when many people clearly voted against austerity and the Conservatives lost their majority.

Today’s announcement has been trickled out ahead of a vote on the pay cap due to take place on Wednesday.

A vote which will not be binding on the government, but one which could see some sympathetic Tory MPs vote against the continuation of what has become a huge symbol of austerity.

The timing is interesting. With the Trade Union Congress conference starting today, this does seem to be aimed at, to a certain extent, spiking the guns of the unions, which have been rallying around the campaign to lift public sector wages.

The party conferences begin soon and we are into that season when snippets of conference speeches get trailed.

Remember that, given Theresa May's weak political position, she will need to make perhaps the most important leader’s speech we will have seen for many years.

A speech will have to please party and people.