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Sturgeon promises public sector workers 'fair' pay rise

The Scottish Government will lift the 1% cap, which has been in place for four years.

Nicola Sturgeon: The First Minister insisted pay rises will remain 'affordable'.
Nicola Sturgeon: The First Minister insisted pay rises will remain 'affordable'. PA

The Scottish Government will lift the 1% cap on public sector pay, the First Minister has confirmed.

Pay rises have been capped across the public sector since 2013 after it was frozen for two years.

Nicola Sturgeon said the cap had been "necessary" due to the financial constraints her government faced in recent years.

Around 485,000 Scots work in the devolved public sector. A further 57,000 public sector workers work in reserved policy areas and have their salaries set by the UK Government.

Sturgeon told MSPs: "Our nurses, teachers, police officers and firefighters deserve a fairer deal for the future.

"We will, therefore, aim to secure pay rises from next year that are affordable but which also reflect the real-life circumstances our public servants face and the contribution our public services make to the overall prosperity of our country."

The First Minister also revealed plans to implement Frank's Law, which will give those aged under 65 the same rights to free personal care as those currently aged 65 or over.

The campaign for the change has been spearheaded by Amanda Kopel, widow of former Dundee United player Frank Kopel who was diagnosed with dementia aged 59 and died at the age of 65 in 2014.

Programme for government 2017

  • Public sector pay to increase beyond 1%.
  • New legislation to change how schools are governed.
  • Frank's Law.
  • Create a National Investment Bank.
  • Raise the age of criminal responsibility from eight to 12.
  • Open a new trade hub in Paris.
  • Work towards phasing out diesel and petrol cars by 2032.
  • All men convicted of historic anti-gay laws are to be pardoned.
  • Presumption against prison sentences shorter than 12 months.
  • Will support Green MSP John Finnie's bill to ban smacking.

Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson said: "If the Scottish Government is to earn back the trust and respect of people in Scotland, which it has squandered in the last year, then it must change - and change fast.

"It must show it understands the difference between a genuine complaint and the politics of endless grievance.

"It must accept responsibility for all its record in Scotland - and fix the mistakes it has made."

Scottish Labour's interim leader Alex Rowley said: "It is time to use the powers of this parliament to pay for a fairer, more equal society and to support our public services.

"[It is] time to introduce a 50p top rate of income tax and have an honest discussion with the people of Scotland to show that those who can afford to pay a bit more should do so.

"And while they say they will lift the public sector pay cap, let us be clear it cannot be done on the back of cutting even more from public services. It must be paid for."

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