I believe a pay rise for civil servants and public-sector workers, both in our constituency and across the country, is fair and affordable. Hard working people in the civil service and public sector deserve a pay rise after years of austerity and declining living standards.
As you note, the UK Government announced in its civil service pay guidance 2018-19 that average pay awards for civil servants will be limited to a range of 1% to 1.5%. I believe Ministers should listen to the civil service unions and immediately withdraw the current pay remittance guidance and undertake a fresh consultation. I would like the Chancellor to give dedicated civil servants the pay rise they deserve.
The Scottish Government is responsible for the pay of civil and public servants in devolved areas. I believe Scotland’s hard-working civil servants deserve a pay rise to facilitate a much-needed increase in their living standards. That is why I welcomed the news back in September 2017 that the Scottish Government would scrap the public sector pay cap.
In February, the Scottish Parliament voted through a budget which promised pay rises for public sector staff. However, the Scottish Government’s budget settlement with local councils failed to deliver additional funding to properly finance lifting the cap. I believe it is unrealistic to expect local authorities to deliver a real-terms pay rise when local government funding in Scotland faces a £386 million black hole.
In my view, the Scottish Government should use the powers of the Scottish Parliament to end austerity and invest in public services through the introduction of a tax regime that raises adequate amounts of money. I support the introduction of an alternative budget which would ask the richest to pay their fair share and properly fund a real terms pay rise for civil servants and public sector workers.
Thank you once again for contacting me about this important issue. I assure you that I – and my colleagues in the Scottish Parliament – will continue to press for all civil servants and public-sector workers to be paid at a level which recognises the skill and dedication which they bring to their jobs.