The Scottish Liberal Democrats have announced they would end years of pay restraint for nurses, teachers, police and the armed forces by lifting the 1% cap on public sector pay and up-rating wages in line with inflation. The plans would lead to an estimated pay rise of £780 for an average public sector worker by 2021.
The move, to be included in the Liberal Democrat UK manifesto by Shadow Chancellor Vince Cable, would affect all public sector workers in Scotland either directly or through Barnett consequentials which would allow the Scottish Government to raise the pay of all public workers.
In contrast, the Conservative's public sector pay cap combined with rising inflation since the Brexit vote will mean that by 2021 a senior nurse will be more than £630 a year worse off, and an army recruit £360.
Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie said:
“Public sector workers are facing a double blow at the hands of this Conservative government, with years of pitiful increases in pay combined with a Brexit squeeze caused by soaring inflation.
“Many of our public services already struggle to recruit the staff they need.
"Living standards are falling, prices are rising and nurses are going to food banks – but Theresa May doesn’t care.
“A better future is available. We will stand up for our hard-working nurses, teachers and police and lift the cap so that they can get the pay rise they deserve.
“Just last week the SNP health secretary told Holyrood that she couldn’t lift the cap in the NHS because she was ‘bound by the Treasury’.
“The Liberal Democrat plan will give the Scottish Government the resources it needs to increase pay for the NHS, teachers and other public sector workers in Scotland who have their pay determined by Scottish ministers.
“Under the Liberal Democrats civil servants and the armed forces will get a pay rise direct from Westminster.
"Within our carefully costed commitments, we believe government can and must lift the cap on public sector pay.”