Boris Johnson warned yesterday that there is ‘no point’ in giving workers bumper pay rises because it would push up prices even further.
Teachers, nurses and doctors have threatened to go on strike unless they are handed double-digit salary hikes.
But the Treasury has told public sector workers they should instead expect rises around the 3 per cent mark.
Speaking at a G7 summit in Bavaria yesterday, the Prime Minister insisted he had to ‘be realistic with people’ about how restraint on salary rises was needed to avoid further inflation
Asked if teachers, nurses and doctors should only get 3 per cent rises, he told ITV News: ‘At a time when you’ve got inflationary pressures in an economy, there’s no point in having pay rises that just cause further price rises because that just cancels out the benefit.
‘So I know that people will find that frustrating but I’ve got to be realistic with people about where we are.
‘I think – I’m pretty certain of this – that our inflationary pressures will abate over time and things will start to get better.’
Mr Johnson added: ‘We’ve got to make sure that we’re taking the sensible and responsible decisions to have the strongest possible economic recovery.’
The Bank of England has warned that inflation, which is already at a 40-year high, will exceed 11 per cent in October.
The public sector pay review bodies, which recommend salaries for about 5.7million workers including teachers, nurses, police and armed forces personnel, are due to report in the coming weeks.
Unions representing teachers and nurses have demanded rises worth more than 12 per cent, while junior doctors are calling for 22 per cent.
They are threatening industrial action this summer arguing that their members face real-terms cuts in pay.
Chief secretary to the Treasury Simon Clarke insisted on Saturday that Cabinet ministers will have to make cuts or find efficiencies if they want to offer public sector pay rises of more than 3 per cent.
‘To be chasing double-digit numbers would be directly against the interest of those doctors, those nurses… We really would then just be in a world where we would very quickly lose control of spending discipline,’ he told The Times.
‘If we want this situation to resolve itself at the fastest possible rate with the least pain, the best thing we can do is not to compound the problems by offering the false premise that you can just keep paying people very high inflation-driven pay settlements.’
And Brandon Lewis yesterday said the Government must make sure it is not doing things to further drive inflation.
Chief secretary to the Treasury Simon Clarke insisted on Saturday that Cabinet ministers will have to make cuts if they want to offer public sector pay rises of more than 3 per cent
When asked if ministers are making it clear to public sector workers that they will not be getting ‘inflation-level pay increases’, the Northern Ireland Secretary told Sky News:
‘We have been very clear we have got to be very conscious and careful. This is about taxpayers’ money and making sure we are not doing things that further drive inflation.
‘If anything, we want to be looking at what we can do to hold and pull inflation back to more reasonable levels.
‘This is a global challenge, we have seen countries all over the world with these pressures on inflation, we have got to make sure we are not doing things that further drive that.’
Criminal barristers are due to hold strikes from today in an escalating dispute with the Government over funding for trials. But Mr Lewis said yesterday: ‘I don’t think many will feel barristers are particularly underpaid.’
It comes after Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi warned last week that teachers going on strike would be ‘unforgivable’ and ‘irresponsible’ in the wake of the disruption Covid has caused to children’s learning.