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Thursday, April 30, 2015

The secret Tory plan to revive regional pay

It is fair to say that things are heating up between the Liberal Democrats and the Tories if today's news is anything to go by.

The Welsh Liberal Democrats have just issued a press release lifting the lid on a secret plan by George Osborne in 2014 to revive his proposal for regional pay, even after we had already ruled it out.

They say that in late 2014 the Chancellor tried to revive the policy by asking officials to prepare a report on a “public sector pay premium”, which is a back door way to justify regional pay.

The Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander has confirmed that he had to personally step in and block the move which would have opened the door to cuts in the pay of workers in Wales by £3,750.

The Party has now released a dossier naming 63 Conservative MPs who are continuing to push for regional pay. The list includes Welsh Tory MP Alun Cairns, five Cabinet Ministers and two members of Cameron’s No.10 policy board.

It is clear that the Tories wanted to pay people less just because they work in Wales. Without the Liberal Democrats in government, the Tories would have taken over a billion pounds out of the Welsh economy, with public sector workers having their wages slashed.

ONS Data shows there are 370,000 public sector employees in Wales. It further shows that on average they earn £3,750 more than those in the private sector each year. These Conservative plans to bring public sector salaries down to the level of private sector in each region would see £1.4 billion taken out of pay packets in Wales each year.

I am pleased at the reassurance from Danny Alexander that when the Tories asked Treasury officials to publish a report backing regional pay in 2014 we were forced to block it and that if Liberal Democrats are returned to government, we will block it again.
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