Victoria Prentis’ statement on public sector pay

‘Before I became a Member of Parliament, I was a senior civil servant and managed a team that effectively had no pay increase for seven consecutive years. I saw first-hand how it affected morale. It is vital that public service workers – including those providing frontline services – are treated fairly and given every opportunity to progress and excel in their careers. Nowhere is this more important than in our own area given the recruitment challenges facing health services across the county, and particularly at the Horton. However, we must understand the costs involved.

Yesterday’s amendment was made with very little notice, allowing no opportunity for any of us to look the implications in sufficient detail. Of course, it is right to keep the issue under review and independent advice sought. Over recent years, pay review bodies have done exactly this, making recommendations regularly. The NHS Pay Review Body last reported in March and said the level should remain at one percent. The next set of recommendations to the Government will be brought forward later this year. I do think this is a balanced approach, and I will certainly look at the outcome closely.

We must also remember that our public services rely on a strong economy. I appreciate that we have had to make difficult decisions over recent years to reduce the national deficit. Pay restraint has protected thousands of jobs and frontline services throughout. That said, I am hopeful that we can start to look forward, both locally and nationally, to a more stable future for public services.’