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Public Sector Pay Cap

Volume 627: debated on Wednesday 19 July 2017

12. What recent discussions he has had with his Cabinet colleagues on the public sector pay cap. (900497)

I hold regular discussions with my Cabinet colleagues on a wide range of matters of importance to Scotland. The Scottish Government are responsible for Scottish Government pay.

I thank the Secretary of State for that answer and I want to give him another opportunity to clarify his view on the reported comments of the Chancellor of the Exchequer at the weekend. Does he agree that public sector workers are overpaid?

The hon. Gentleman will have seen what the Chancellor said on Sunday: he said that there are areas in the public service where recruitment and retention are becoming an issue and areas of the country where public sector wages and private sector wages are getting out of kilter in the other direction. It is important that we have a discussion on those issues.

Yesterday, in this Chamber, a Treasury Minister declined to answer a question on the grounds that it was way above his pay grade. Should not we be grateful to our public sector workers for not taking that attitude, and is it not high time that they got the pay rise they deserve?

I fully acknowledge the contribution that public sector workers make across the UK, and particularly in Scotland. Of course we will listen carefully when the pay boards make their recommendations.

Sixty-six per cent. of public sector workers in Wales, another devolved country, are women, and I suspect that the figure is a lot higher in Scotland. In the light of that, does the Secretary of State not agree that the public sector pay gap is now fundamentally unsustainable and is not only eroding the living standards of women and families but damaging the economy?

We are all concerned about the gender pay gap. Some figures released within the last hour by a public sector organisation suggest that there are significant gender pay gap issues at the BBC. I set out my position in my previous answer: it is for the Scottish Government to determine pay for Scottish Government employees, and the Government’s position has also been set out.