UK politics live: public sector pay rises next year could be lower than inflation, minister admits

Good morning. Tomorrow Rishi Sunak, the chancellor, will announce his combined budget and spending review, but the torrent of pre-announcements continues, and overnight the Treasury has said that Sunak will end the public sector pay freeze. Here is our overnight story by my colleagues Jessica Elgot and Rowena Mason.

As the report explains, details are sketchy at this point. Sunak is not announcing pay awards for public sector workers – those will only come after the independent pay review bodies have made their recommendations, in the usual way – and ending the pay freeze for public sector workers (or some public sector workers – there were exemptions for the low paid, and for NHS staff) is not the same as awarding a real-terms increase (that would overshoot inflation).

This was confirmed by Paul Scully, the business minister on Millbank duty for the government, who in interview this morning refused to commit to public sector workers getting a pay rise above inflation. Asked if the pay increases next year would be higher than inflation, he replied:


That will be determined by the pay review bodies. The chancellor is keen to give people a rise.

They will then take that into account as they look to what should be an appropriate rise for the public sector, given the public finances.

I can’t pre-empt what they are going to do. We will see where we are come next April when the review bodies have reported.

Here is the agenda for the day.

9.30am: Academics and officials from the Department of Health and Social Care give evidence to the Commons science committee about the UK’s ability to deal with global disease outbreaks.

9.30am: Prof David Cunningham, chair of the Association of Cancer Physicians, and other experts give evidence to the Commons health committee about cancer services.

11.30am: Downing Street holds its lobby briefing.

11.30am: Liz Truss, the foreign secretary, takes questions in the Commons.

2.30pm: Ben Wallace, the defence secretary, gives evidence to the Commons defence committee on the withdrawal from Afghanistan.

2.30pm: The NFU and other farming and food industry trade bodies give evidence to the Commons environment committee about labour shortages.

2.30pm: Lord Frost, the Brexit minister, gives evidence to the Lords European affairs committee.

Afternoon: Peers debate Commons amendments to the environment bill, including the vote overturning a Lords bid to protect rivers from sewage.

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