Papers reveal Ministers knew pay cap would force kids into poverty

Government documents revealed under Freedom of Information legislation show that Conservative ministers were warned that extending the public pay cap past 2015 would have a "negative impact on family relationships" and make it far more difficult to reduce child poverty levels.

Then Chancellor, George Osborne, announced back in July 2015 that the 1 per cent public sector pay cap would be extended for four years – a policy that had not been included in the Conservative manifesto. The cap remained in force until the 2018/19 pay round.

Civil service advice, contained within the policy decision paper which was signed off by Ministers, stated that:

· ‘As a result of this policy, public sector workers’ take home pay is not likely to keep pace with inflation.’

· Extending the cap ‘could increase financial pressure on families of public sector workers which may have a negative impact on family relationships’

· ‘This policy will make it more difficult for low-income families with children to access essential goods, and will therefore make it harder for the Government to hit the Child Poverty Act targets.’

Rehana Azam, GMB National Secretary, said the documents were a "mark of shame" for the government.

“The public sector pay pinch has had a devastating impact on our members for many years." she said, adding: “Public sector workers have been forced to leave their homes, use foodbanks and many of our members are unable to fund basic necessities for their children such as an annual holiday.

“This damning document is a mark of shame on ministers who imposed years of real-terms pay cuts in the full knowledge that it would condemn families and children to poverty.

“We will fight tooth and nail against all attempts to impose harsh real-terms cuts on our members just because of the region they live in."

“If Theresa May is serious about ending ‘burning injustices', she must use this Budget to reverse the fall in living standards that this Government has imposed on ordinary working people.”

In response, Osborne told the BBC that George Osborne told the BBC: "We know from the financial crisis that low income families suffer most when countries lose control of their public spending."

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