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Regional pay would be unfair on Welsh workers and disastrous for the economy

March 28, 2012 4:08 PM

The Welsh Liberal Democrats Finance and Social Justice Spokesperson, Peter Black has reiterated his opposition to the introduction of regional pay in advance of a debate in the Welsh Assembly tomorrow.

Speaking on behalf of the Welsh Liberal Democrats group in the Assembly, Mr. Black said that they believe that the introduction of regional pay would be disastrous for Welsh workers and the Welsh economy.

"I believe that there should be a rate for the job within the public sector," said Mr. Black. "As such I continue to support a national pay bargaining structure which reflects that principle. Freezing people's salaries for an extended period until they equalise with local private sector pay rates is demonstrably unfair and would lead to declining living standards and the further economic depression of many communities in Wales.

"While housing costs in Wales are on average less than those in some areas of England, gas, electric and fuel bills are often much higher. Food costs are the same, or as is the case for many rural parts of Wales - much higher. Any move to reduce or freeze public sector wages based on differences between private and public sector salaries will merely serve to further ingrain deprivation as a fact of life for many Welsh communities."

"Welsh Liberal Democrats do not believe that regional pay will stimulate the local economy, and instead urge the Welsh Government, the WLGA and UK Government to work closer together on appropriate private enterprise stimulus packages. The best way to tackle an 18% salary difference between private and public sector workers in Wales is to raise up earnings in the private sector through the development of high value, high quality jobs.

"It is important we do not forget that it was under Labour that regional pay was first introduced in to the courts system. We opposed that move then and we oppose the current suggestion made by Chancellor George Osborne that a similar system could be rolled out across other civil service departments.

"Like many of our colleagues in Westminster, Welsh Liberal Democrats are fundamentally opposed to regional pay."