Theresa May has been accused of insulting teachers by offering them a 1% pay rise after she refused to bow to pressure from some Tory MPs, Labour and trade unions to begin easing the public sector wage cap.
The Department for Education said it would accept the recommendation of a 1% pay rise made by the independent pay review body, days after an open revolt by some senior cabinet ministers who said the seven-year cap should be lifted.
Labour said the government was causing a recruitment crisis in schools by holding down pay, while the award was described as “an insult” by the Liberal Democrats. Teachers’ unions said that salaries will have fallen 15% behind inflation since 2010.
The pay deal for more than 500,000 teachers was the first to be announced since Tory MPs raised concerns over public sector pay earlier this month following the party’s disastrous election performance, which saw it lose its overall majority, with public sector workers turning to Labour.
Some of May’s own senior team, including Boris Johnson, Michael Gove and Jeremy Hunt, had indicated they thought it was time to increase pay for public sector workers.
But the prime minister appears to have kept a temporary lid on the cabinet rebellion for now, after her chancellor, Philip Hammond, challenged his colleagues to hold their nerve on austerity until they have found a way to pay for any wage increases.