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UNPRECEDENTED PAY FREEZE SLIPS THROUGH UNNOTICED

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MPs were slow to wake up to a hidden bombshell in the Budget - the extension of next year's public sector pay freez...
MPs were slow to wake up to a hidden bombshell in the Budget - the extension of next year's public sector pay freeze by two years to an unprecedented three year freeze, the FT reports on p17, the first page of its 32 page Budget 93 supplement.

Though the announcement triggered an angry response to union leaders, who forecast substantial job cuts to allow for some pay rises, it prompted no reaction from opposition MPs, who appeared not to grasp its implications.

Labour Leader John Smith failed to mention it in his Budget reply, and Conservative back benchers appeared to think the freeze applied only to about 400,000 civil servqants rather than up to 5 million opublic sector workers.

The freeze is in facyt the first attempt by any gopvernmen to freeze public sector pay for three consecutive years.

The FT says it was glossed over in the Chancellor's speech and hiden in the details of the Budget red book, where the wording appeared to be ambiguous.
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