Otley’s MP, Alex Sobel, joined five other speakers at the Leeds Paycap Rally Outside of Leeds Art Gallery on October 3rd. As the only MP to address the rally he called on the government to ‘give Britain a payrise.’ The Paycap or pay freeze was installed under the Tory/Lib Dem government of 2010. It has meant that over the seven years the average health worker, for example, has suffered a real terms pay cut of nearly £2000 - with midwives losing over £3500 and ambulance staff well over £5000.
It’s estimated that the cap and freeze have meant that police officers have had a real terms reduction in pay of 14.6% since 2010. The cap has only just been lifted by the government.
But the new offers are still below inflation – and don’t make up for a seven-year squeeze.
Alex said: “The pay freeze came alongside the slowest growth in the economy for generations and resulted in a pay squeeze that hurt the families of nurses, police officers, social workers, fire fighters, teachers and prison officers. As politicians, we ask people to work on the front line caring for our elderly relatives, educating our children and keeping our communities safe.
They deserve nothing less than to be paid properly. “After seven years the Tories have finally lifted the paycap but like most things with this government, this weak government, it is less than a half measure. Firefighters, have only been offered a 2% increase which, in the wake of the Grenfell Tower disaster is frankly an insult to those who risk their lives every single day.
Teachers have been offered a measly 1%. With ever increasing workloads and pressures, this is not going to be enough to stop the floods of good qualified professionals leaving the profession in their droves.”
"Many of the staff that keep Leeds public sector services going travel in from their homes in outlying areas such as Otley and Yeadon. Not only are they facing real term pay cut but also rising costs in transport to get to work, increasing traffic congestion and air- pollution due to this government failure to tackle transport infrastructure in the north.”
“Make no mistake, these pay cuts (and let’s call them pay cuts) were not done in the national interest. They were an ideological assault on the many for the benefit of the few. It’s time Britain had a payrise.”