Public sector pay rises - What does it mean for Wales?

Those affected directly by the Prime Minister's plans include police, prisons and the military. Credit: PA

The UK Government’s pay deal for public sector workers will affect thousands of people here in Wales both directly and indirectly. 

Those affected directly are in areas under the control of ministers in London such as the police, prisons and the military.

The armed forces are getting an increase of 5% plus a £1000 payment. Credit: PA Images

Those working in Welsh police forces and prisons will see their pay for 2023/4 increase by 7%.

The armed forces are getting an increase of 5% plus a £1000 payment.

Senior civil servants are getting a 5.5% increase.

However, other public sector workers, including teachers, nurses and doctors are in devolved areas and so are the responsibility of the Welsh Government.

They have already had their pay rises for 2023/4 and it’s not clear how or if the UK Government’s deal will alter those.

  • What’s the Welsh Government doing about them?

Most health unions (apart from the Royal College of Nursing) have accepted the Welsh Government’s pay rise of 5% for 2023/4 and a one-off payment of around £1000 for 2022/23.

That compares to a 6% increase in England under the UK Government’s new deal. 

Teachers in Wales are due to get a 5% pay rise from September this year. That’s a lower increase than the 6.5% that is now being offered in England but the Welsh Government says it evens out over two years because the 2022/23 rise was higher here. (6.5% + lump sum)

Several sectors have recently been involved in industrial action
  • What does it mean for strikes?

The NEU teaching union called off its strike action in Wales on receiving the 5% pay offer but the NAHT union for headteachers is still holding action short of a strike. 

Health unions called off their strikes but the Royal College of Nursing continued to strike. It paused strikes planned for this week to hold talks with the Welsh Government about a non-pay offer.

  • What does it mean for other public services?

Jeremy Hunt has ruled out extra borrowing as a way of funding the pay rises

The Chancellor Jeremy Hunt has made it clear that there will be no extra money and no extra borrowing to fund the pay rises.

That means that the increases will have to be paid for by cuts in UK Government spending elsewhere. Rishi Sunak said: "There are always choices. Budgets are not infinite. When some ask for higher pay, that will always create pressures elsewhere.”

It also means that the decision won’t trigger extra funding for the Welsh Government as would usually be expected so if Welsh ministers want to offer higher pay rises, they too will have to find the money from existing funding. 

Welsh Conservative leader Andrew RT Davies is calling on the Welsh Government to match the UK funding Credit: PA

A Welsh government spokesperson said: "We will continue to work in partnership with trades unions in Wales.

Our budget for 2023-24 is already £900m lower in real terms than it was expected to be at the time of the 2021 spending review.

"The UK government has confirmed the announcement is not backed with any new spending."

The Welsh Conservatives are calling on the Welsh Government to match the exact increases now being offered in England. 

The party’s leader in the Senedd, Andrew RT Davies said: “Now it is imperative for Labour ministers in the Senedd to match this offer for the positions they are accountable for in Wales, such as doctors, nurses, and teachers. 

“Labour must not allow them to be shortchanged when compared to their counterparts in the rest of the UK.”

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