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Welsh Liberal Democrat motion opposing regional pay passes

September 25, 2012 4:30 PM

Conference delegates in Brighton this afternoon overwhelming voted in favour for the Welsh Liberal Democrat motion calling on the UK Government to rule out any expansion in regional or local pay.

Eluned Parrott portrait (Stephen Radford)Eluned Parrott AM, who opened the debate, commented:

"I am delighted that Liberal Democrat members from all over Britain voted in favour of our motion.  This is a significant step forward for our campaign to stop regional pay. 

"The Welsh Liberal Democrats have once again shown that we will stand up and fight for the best deal for the people of Wales.  Labour's hands are dirty on this issue as they introduced regional pay by bringing it into our courts system; we are determined that the Coalition Government must not repeat Labour's mistakes.

"This is a proud day for the Welsh Liberal Democrats - we have used our influence to form Liberal Democrat policy.  But we will not stop here as there is more work to be done.  We will continue to fight on to ensure that post-code pay can not be introduced whilst there are Liberal Democrat Ministers in Government."

Roger Williams in WestminsterRoger Williams MP, Deputy Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats, who also spoke in the debate, said:

"Regional pay fails the economic test and it also fails the fairness test.

"I am so pleased that the motion was so resoundingly carried and proud that the Welsh Liberal Democrats are standing up for the people of Wales."

Wording of Liberal Democrat policy

F39 Fair Pay for Public Sector Workers Across the UK

Welsh Liberal Democrats & South East Cornwall

Conference notes that:

1.    The coalition government is considering the introduction of regional or local pay, which would see variations in the level of pay for public sector workers across the country.

2.    The Chancellor of the Exchequer announced in the 2012 budget that "some departments will have the option of moving to more local pay for those public sector workers whose pay freezes end this year."

Conference is concerned that:

i) Regional or local pay could adversely affect many regions and nations of the UK especially those with relatively lower incomes or relatively weaker private sectors.

ii) Regional or local pay could reduce the economic productivity of these areas by reducing the amount of money in the local economy and consequently reducing demand, which would in turn have a detrimental impact on local businesses.

iii) Regional or local pay risks undermining public services in areas that offered lower rates of pay, as more skilled or experienced public sector workers would be able to compete for higher paying jobs in other regions and as a result there could be a 'brain drain' towards these regions.

iv) The evidence that there are significant pay differentials between the public and private sector and that consequently public sector pay is crowding our private sector jobs is inconclusive.

v) Local pay, as distinct from regional pay, could have an equally detrimental impact on the areas affected.

Conference endorses:

a) The statement by Vince Cable that "We certainly don't want to be in a position where in relatively low income parts of the country, pay is depressed. That would be wrong and inappropriate."

b) The statement by Nick Clegg that regional pay could "be totally unjust because it would actually penalise people working in some of the most difficult areas."

Conference calls for:

1.    The UK Government to rule out any further expansion in regional or local pay.

The continuation of national pay agreements for the Public Sector which may include flexibility to let employers solve specific staff recruitment and retention problems.