Liz Truss – because Philip Hammond was too cowardly to answer John McDonnell’s urgent question on it himself – spoke to the House of Commons today to try to defend the government’s years-long freeze and cap on public-sector pay. Caps that have forced nurses and other hard-working public servants even to resort to foodbanks to survive.
Hammond is well known for car-crash interviews, but he might be wishing he’d faced the grilling instead of the hapless Truss, whose tongue loosened a bit too much and let slip a damning revelation:
That the Tories have been deliberately cutting public sector wages to put money in the pockets of business.
Tory MP Rachael McLean asked a question that pointed out that private sector pay ‘fell significantly‘ while public sector pay had ‘remained stable’ before the Tories’ attack on it – and urged the government to make sure that any public sector pay reviews didn’t put businesses have to pay better.
Ms Truss’ response was astonishingly revealing if you just stop and think about it:
We’ve now got to a position where public sector pay is now comparable to private sector pay… getting to a position where pay is comparable… is fair… it’s fair for both workers in the private sector and the public sector…
..This government should be proud of what we’ve achieved.
Remember that McLean had just said that private sector pay had fallen. In the context of Truss’ statement, if you ‘get to a position’ where something happens, that means it’s where you intended to arrive.
When private sector wages fell because of a financial crash, the Tories’ ‘solution’ was not to find ways to get them back up. It was to make a plan to drive down public sector wages to match, so that businesses didn’t have to pay their staff properly.
In other words, the Tories donors opportunistically used the financial crash to drive down their employees’ wages – and the Tories then drove down public sector wages to match, so their corporate pals didn’t have to think about putting private sector wages up.
There you have it, formally stated in the House of Commons and available on the Hansard record very shortly:
The Conservatives in government set about deliberately impoverishing half of us, so their businesses could protect profits instead of de-impoverishing the other half of us.
As good a reason as any to never let the Tories near government again.
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