Police and prison officers' pay cap to be lifted, No 10 says

Senior officers said they support May’s move but they could not absorb the extra £50m

The British government will soften its seven-year grip on public-sector pay with police and prison officers set to get increases above a 1 percent cap, media reported.

However, with other public sector workers having to wait longer for any increases, unions now meeting this week for their annual congress have warned industrial action could follow as a "last resort".

If the government gave all public sector workers a 2.6 percent increase this year, the additional spending would rise to almost 3 billion pounds, IFS analyst Jonathan Cribb said.

The pay rises are based on recommendations from the respective pay review bodies.

Last year, Britain passed tough laws which require a ballot turnout of more than 50 percent of union members for a strike to be legal, with even tighter restrictions for important public services such as health, transport, border security and fire sectors.

Asked on Monday if the public sector pay cap was still in place, the prime minister's spokesman said the pay review process was continuing.

At a meeting of Cabinet chaired by Mrs May in 10 Downing Street, ministers approved a pay body recommendation of 1.7% average rises for prison officers for 2017/18 in order to tackle shortages of staff and expertise.

Chief Secretary to the Treasury Elizabeth Truss said: "Our talented and hardworking public-sector workers deserve to have fulfilling jobs that are fairly rewarded and I am pleased to confirm the pay awards for police and prison officers for 2017/18".

"We're very clear that public service workers are a team".

Liberal Democrat leader Sir Vince Cable welcomed the move, saying: "It is good to see the Government finally recognise that the public sector pay cap is no longer sustainable".

"If ministers think a derisory rise like this will deal with the staffing crisis in our public services, they are sorely mistaken".

Steve White, chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales, said the announcement was a "step in the right direction" but did not go far enough.

The UK is facing a growing threat of coordinated strikes by public sector workers over the issue of the 1% pay cap. "We asked for 2.8% and provided compelling evidence to support this".

On Sunday, Labour refused to rule out supporting nationally coordinated action over the public sector pay cap.

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