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Pay cap to be lifted for police and prison officers
©Paul Townsend

Pay cap to be lifted for police and prison officers

11/09/17Defence

The UK government is to lift the 1% public sector pay cap for both police and prison officers, the BBC understands.

Ministers are expected to accept recommendations for an increase in pay rise this week, and also to pave the way for similar increases in other sectors.

Iain Watson, BBC’s political correspondent, said that it was the “first concrete example of the pay cap being dismantled”.

Public sector pay was frozen for two years in 2010, except for those earning less than £21,000 (~€23,000) per year, and since 2013, rises have been capped at 1% – below the rate of inflation.

An increase, expected this week, for officers is based upon the recommendations of independent pay review bodies, as recruitment and retention problems are being cited in the case of prison officers.

The BBC understands that the Treasury will issue guidance on next year’s pay round, which is likely to see the cap eased in other areas where there are similar issues, such as teaching and nursing.

Police and prison officer review bodies, in reports which are pending publication, call for increases above 1% this summer, and the government has been considering how to address the issue since.

Meanwhile, the Public and Commercial Services Union is to ballot its members on industrial action over the cap currently in force. The Institute for Fiscal Studies has said raising pay in alignment with inflation for the next three of four years would cost £6-7bn more, in comparison to the current policy.

During Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday (6 September), Theresa May said that public sector workers were doing a vital job and often in harrowing circumstances.

She added that the government would await the publication of the police and prison officers’ pay review bodies’ reports before deciding its policy framework for 2018-2019.

Pan European Networks Ltd