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Regional Pay

Volume 547: debated on Tuesday 26 June 2012

4. What progress he has made on his consultation on regional pay for public sector workers; and if he will make a statement. (113580)

The independent pay review bodies are considering how public sector pay can be made more responsive to local labour markets, and will report from July. Nothing has been decided, and no changes will be made unless there is strong supporting evidence and a rational case for proceeding.

The Tory finance spokesperson in the Welsh Assembly said that introducing regional pay could disadvantage thousands of public sector workers, and that

“we are making it absolutely clear that we are against”

it. Does the Minister agree?

As I have just set out, this is a question at present for the independent pay review bodies, which will report back in July. There is an argument that more local, market-facing pay in the public sector has the potential to support more for the same investment, and to help local businesses become more competitive.

23. How can it be fair for small businesses outside London and the south-east to have to compete for staff paid on national rates working in public offices? Given that the last Government committed us to local pay nearly 10 years ago, and that it already operates in the Courts Service, what is the problem with encouraging other departments to follow suit? (113601)

My hon. Friend makes a valuable point that I am sure the independent pay review bodies will consider. If I were to put a number on the average premium for working in the public sector, I could name 18% in Wales.

Last week, it was left to the Minister for the Cabinet Office and Paymaster General to come to the Chamber to explain the Treasury’s position on regional pay. Was that because the Chief Secretary does not support the policy and the part-time Chancellor does not want to make another U-turn?

We had an extensive and rather premature debate on this last week in the Chamber, and I shall say again what I said then: the independent pay review bodies are producing a report, and it would be premature to review that without the evidence, which they are considering.