Jeremy Corbyn mocked Theresa May’s deal with the DUP during PMQs claiming she found £1 billion to save her own job yet was snubbing public sector workers.
During a robust and tetchy clash at the dispatch box the Labour leader said: ‘The Prime Minister found £1 billion to keep her own job … why can’t you find the same amount of money to keep nurses and teachers in their job – who, after all, serve us all?’
The Prime Minister – who has faced pressure from within her own cabinet to scrap the public sector pay cap – replied: ‘I understand it has been hard for people who have been making sacrifices over the years as we’ve been dealing with Labour’s mismanagement of the economy.’
Corbyn accused the Prime Minister of ‘recklessly exploiting the goodwill of public servants’, adding: ‘They need a pay rise.’
But May said: ‘Our policy on public sector pay has always recognised that we need to be fair to public sector workers, to protect jobs in the public sector and to be fair to those who pay for it.
‘That is the balance that we need to strike and we continue to assess that balance.’
May and Chancellor Philip Hammond are facing pressure from a string of Government ministers to ease the 1% cap on pay rises.
Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson wants a wage boost for public sector workers and believes that the recommendations of independent pay review bodies which back increases should be followed.
Environment Secretary Michael Gove has insisted the Government must ‘listen’ to the pay review bodies, while Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon said pay rates were ‘obviously something we have to consider not just for the army but right across the public sector as a whole’.
Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has said he has ‘a great deal of sympathy’ for nurses’ demands for higher rises.