Alex Cunningham, Labour MP for Stockton North, today demanded to know why the Government could afford to give millionaires huge tax cuts but couldn’t pay public sector workers a little more in wages.
His demand came on the day of a national strike by workers who are upset at the 1% pay rise offer from the Government who claimed they were protecting jobs by keeping wage rises extremely low.
In the Commons, Alex said:
“More than a thousand public sector jobs have gone in the Stockton Borough alone since this Government came to power, and the value of public sector pay – including that for some of the lowest paid part-time people in our community – has gone down by around 20% since 2010. One per cent of £6,000 a year, around which many are paid, will buy one loaf of bread each week for a year.
“How can the Government afford to give millionaires a tax cut, worth many times more than most public sector workers get paid in a year, but can’t find a way to better reward people like those who clean the streets, empty the bins and look after our most vulnerable people?”
In reply, the Cabinet Office Minister, Francis Maude MP, declined to answer the direct question and even claimed that public sector workers get a good deal out of their jobs.
Afterwards, Alex said:
“Nobody wants to go on strike, and I for one certainly don’t want to see people lose money by doing so. But the Government have refused to recognise the plight of some of the lowest paid workers, have refused to negotiate properly and have driven them out onto the streets in protest.
“It is time there was recognition for the people who do some of the dirtiest and toughest jobs around – but sadly I can’t see that happening under the current regime.”