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Labour leaders urge chancellor to fund proposed pay rise

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More than 90 Labour council leaders have written to the chancellor demanding that he fully funds the proposed pay rise for the majority of council staff.

LGC reported yesterday how National Employers, who negotiate pay on behalf of the majority of councils in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, made an offer of increasing pay by 2% next year and by a further 2% in 2019-20. It also includes the introduction of a new national pay spine on 1 April 2019.

The unions, which had pitched for a 5% pay increase next year, are now considering the proposal.

Local Government Association Labour group leader Nick Forbes “unreservedly welcomed” the pay offer.

But in the letter, which Cllr Forbes organised, leaders said their “ability to offer the sort of pay rise our workers deserve is severely restrained by the cuts you have forced on local councils”.

They said it is “vital” the government uses the local government finance settlement to “ensure we have the resources to give our staff a fair rise”.

Cllr Forbes said: “Labour councillors have been clear that enough is enough. The Tory policy of austerity has gone too far – it is just not fair to ask loyal local government staff to once again pay for this failed policy through lower wages.”

Shadow communities secretary Andrew Gwynne said: “Local government workers provide an important and essential service to the public, but for years they have seen their pay held back by this government in the name of austerity.

“Given the Tories’ harsh cuts to authority budgets, it is vital that additional funding is provided to back up this pledge, to avoid simply placing extra burden on already over-strained budgets.”

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