I passionately believe that public sector workers deserve to have fulfilling jobs that are fairly rewarded and I am delighted that the Government has confirmed that it will be moving away from the 1 per cent public sector pay policy, towards a more flexible approach on pay.
We do, however, still need to deal with our country's debts in order to ensure we have a strong economy which enables us to invest in our public services. I believe that such an approach means that unfortunately, the Government can only consider specific workforces on an individual basis to ensure pay is set at a level which ensures that the public sector can continue to both attract and hold on to the excellent staff that support our world-leading public services. Therefore, whilst I understand the frustration workers such as teachers and nurses must be experiencing when prison and police officers are no longer subject to the pay cap, I believe this gradual approach is the only affordable way for the pay cap to be removed across the entire public sector.
Indeed the deficit has been cut by two thirds since 2010, helping to secure our economy for the future. There is more to be done but thanks to the actions that have been taken to get the public finances back into shape, the Government can now apply greater flexibility to public sector pay. I am confident that Ministers will continue to ensure that the overall package for public sector workers recognises their vital contribution and ensures that they can deliver world class public services, while also being affordable and fair to taxpayers as a whole.
I hope you are reassured that both I and the Government are committed to lifting the pay cap for all of our hardworking public servants as soon as it is possible to do so. The independent Pay Review Bodies will next report in spring 2018, at which point the Government will consider their recommendations and announce whether there are any further change to public sector pay.