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McDonnell calls on Tory backbenchers to back pay rise for public sector workers

The shadow chancellor has written to all Conservative backbenchers asking for their support.

Labour has sought to keep up the pressure on Theresa May over public sector pay, urging Tory MPs to support the lifting of the 1% cap.

After the Prime Minister called on opposition parties to work with the Government, shadow chancellor John McDonnell has written to all Conservative backbenchers calling on them to back Labour’s plans to reverse a planned £2.5 billion cut in corporation tax and end the cap.

His intervention comes after Education Secretary Justine Greening confirmed that teachers faced another year of pay restraint, prompting fresh warnings from unions of a classroom staffing crisis with more leaving the profession.

(PA Graphics)

The announcement came amid growing unease among Tory MPs at the impact the continued cap – effectively a real-terms pay cut – is having on the public sector – a mood Labour is keen to exploit.

“I am calling on backbench Conservative MPs to put aside our party differences so that we can reward our public sector workers for their hard work,” Mr McDonnell said.

“The figures are clear, and they show it can be done, if the political decision is made. As this pay freeze is about political choice, not economic necessity.

“Therefore, instead of giving a £2.5 billion handout, let’s take the bold action required to ensure a pay rise for our teachers, nurses and other hardworking public sector workers.

“At a time when their wages are not keeping up with prices and many public sector workers are really struggling, politicians need to come together to recognise this and act – otherwise our public services will deteriorate and many working families will suffer.”

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