bWilson – Treasury must step in to enable wage increase

DUP Finance spokesman in Westminster and East Antrim MP Sammy Wilson has welcomed the Government decision to accept the Pay Review Bodies’ recommendations but has warned that unless the Treasury steps in there will not be enough money to pay for the increase in Northern Ireland.

By Sammy Wilson Candidate

East Antrim

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Mr Wilson said,

“The headlines look good, but the reality will be different for teachers and police officers in Northern Ireland unless the Treasury changes course. This is not a question of Stormont or no Stormont, the core issue is that we are underfunded.

Whilst Northern Ireland should have received a Barnett Consequential from the spending in England and Wales on public sector wage increases, the Secretary of State has already announced that any Barnett funding will be used to pay down the overspend in Northern Ireland last year.

Especially at lower levels, our teachers and police officers are massively underpaid compared to their counterparts across the UK. This wage increase was deserved but unless Treasury recognises that the Barnett Formula has been consistently failing Northern Ireland, there will not be enough money to make these pay awards.

The Northern Ireland Fiscal Council has produced several reports over recent months where they map out why Northern Ireland must arrest this spending gap. Whilst we have been falling behind in the amount available for public services, this is set to squeeze us even more dramatically in future years.

We will be pressing the Prime Minister and the Chancellor on this matter. Despite the rhetoric of some, if Stormont was restored tomorrow, a local Finance Minister simply would not have the money available to make these pay awards without massively reducing the public sector headcount.

When key public sector workers are leaving their jobs for better terms elsewhere, it is high time Treasury accepted that Barnett has been consistently failing Northern Ireland.”

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