Sunderland MPs and unions furious at public sector pay plans

Sharon Hodgson MP Labour Member of Parliament for Gateshead East and Washington West.  CREDIT: Gary Lee /UPPA/Photoshot
Sharon Hodgson MP Labour Member of Parliament for Gateshead East and Washington West. CREDIT: Gary Lee /UPPA/Photoshot
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SUNDERLAND MPs have hit out over plans to introduce regional pay for public sector workers ahead of today’s Budget.

Union bosses have also expressed anger and have vowed to fight the proposals which could see wages cuts for teachers, nurses and council workers in the North East.

Chancellor George Osborne is expected to unveil plans to localise public sector pay in today’s budget.

In a letter, MPs including Sunderland Central’s Julie Elliot and Washington and Sunderland West’s Sharon Hodgson expressed concerns that the plans would “lead to different wage rates between regions and possibly within the region”.

The Northern TUC says up to 300,000 public sector workers could be affected, with a knock-on effect for the region’s economic recovery.

TUC regional secretary Kevin Rowan said: “It is a scandal that George Osborne is plotting a real-terms pay cut of nurses in the North while reducing taxes for the very richest.

“This is the latest attack on the North East from a Chancellor who doesn’t know or care about our region’s economy or public services.”

Paul Callaghan, chairman of One North East, which is soon to be abolished, said: “I’m very concerned about the negative impact on the North East economy of regional pay rates.”

Mr Osborne is also expected to today announce plans to give every taxpayer a personal statement spelling out exactly how much of their income is paid to the state and what it is being spent on.

Specimen statements prepared by the Treasury show someone on £25,200 a year sees £5,702.12 of their income go to the Exchequer in direct taxation, of which the biggest slice goes on welfare, which accounts for £1,900.71, followed by £992.91 for health and £743.26 for education.

Interest payments on the national debt account for £363.12 – somewhat ahead of the £329.08 for defence and more than double the £153.19 for the police.

Overseas aid gets £56.74, while £28.37 goes towards the cost of Britain’s contribution to the European Union.

Labour leader Ed Miliband accused the Government of being more interested in cutting taxes for the rich than helping “hard-pressed families”.

Mr Miliband said: “We would be concentrating on jobs and growth and we would be using every penny of scarce resources in order to help millions of hard-pressed families who are struggling to make ends meet.

“My fear is the Government is more interested in cutting taxes for people earning more than £150,000 a year.”

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