Visit our new website:

Conservatives feel heat after DUP backs Labour on NHS pay

  • Thu, 14 Sep 2017 02:30

Protesters against the government pay cap last week in Parliament Square © Getty

The government is set to come under increased financial pressure after the Democratic Unionist party supported Labour’s calls for higher NHS pay and no rises to student tuition fees.

Philip Hammond, the chancellor, is already facing calls from Conservative MPs chastened by the party’s poor performance at the June general election to make a decisive break with austerity by finding billions of pounds for pay rises for public sector workers.

On Tuesday, the government partially lifted a 1 per cent cap on annual pay rises for these workers by announcing increases above that level for police and prison officers.

Northern Ireland’s DUP, which formed an alliance with the Tories after the election and whose 10 MPs are crucial to the government’s parliamentary majority, on Wednesday supported a Labour motion in the Commons calling for NHS staff to receive “a fair pay rise”.

The DUP MPs also backed a second Labour motion opposing a rise in university tuition fees to £9,250 a year. Faced with near-certain defeat in the votes on Labour’s motions, the Conservatives decided not to whip their own MPs.

Labour’s motions are not binding on the government, and the DUP remains committed to supporting the government’s budget and any finance bills as part of its confidence-and-supply deal with the Conservatives struck after the election.

As part of that deal, the DUP secured £1bn in additional public spending for Northern Ireland. “Their chief interest lies in the budget adding up so their cheque doesn’t bounce,” said one person close to the party.

“Given the heavy legislative schedule, we’re not asking people necessarily to vote on things that have no legislative effect,” said one Tory official. The party was “relaxed” about the DUP’s stance, he added.

Trade unions said the DUP’s stance had limited the Treasury’s room for manoeuvre. “Ministers must know they’re in the wrong when even their quasi-coalition partners in the DUP have turned against them, and backed pay rises for NHS workers,” said Dave Prentis, head of Unison, Britain’s second largest union.

Labour said it was “unthinkable” for the government not to act on the will of the Commons.

Its NHS pay motion also attracted support from Sarah Wollaston, a Tory MP and chair of the Commons health select committee.

Earlier on Wednesday, prime minister Theresa May argued for salary restraint — arguing that some police officers had seen their take-home pay rise by a third in real terms since 2010, largely because of income tax cuts and progressions payments.



US Weekly

Related Stories

Bitcoin hits record high after smashing through $8,000 for first time
  • Tue, 21 Nov 2017 08:47

LONDON (Reuters) - Bitcoin hit a new record high on Monday after smashing through the $ 8,000 level for the first time over the weekend, marking an a...

Duke consolidates top spot in Top 25 after Champions Classic
  • Tue, 21 Nov 2017 07:57

Duke proved on a national stage at the Champions Classic last week why so many voters had the Blue Devils atop their Top 25 ballot before the season b...

Missing Argentinian submarine tried to return to base after power malfunction
  • Tue, 21 Nov 2017 06:54

An Argentinian military submarine was trying to return to base after reporting an electrical fault when it went missing, the country's navy says, as s...

Chiba cops question man after woman's corpse found in love hotel
  • Tue, 21 Nov 2017 06:45

Chiba Prefectural Police are questioning a man after a woman was found dead inside a love hotel in Funabashi City on Sunday, reports the Asahi Shimbun...

Trump Jr. Met With Putin-Linked Russian Banker At NRA Event
  • Tue, 21 Nov 2017 06:40

The eldest son of U.S. President Donald Trump met with a Russian banker with deep ties to Russian leader Vladimir Putin just four months before the 20...

Mexico’s presidential frontrunner sets out austere stall
  • Tue, 21 Nov 2017 05:10

November 20, 2017Jude Webber in Mexico City Listen to this article Play audio for this article Pause 00:00 00:00 This is an experimental feat...

Trump: Healthcare, infrastructure, welfare reforms up next after taxes
  • Tue, 21 Nov 2017 04:09

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday said he plans to take up healthcare, infrastructure and welfare reform issues soon after...

Germany's Merkel 'prefers new vote' after coalition talks fail
  • Tue, 21 Nov 2017 04:07

The German chancellor would opt for fresh elections over leading a minority government. BBC News - Europe

SouthGobi’s shares tumble after arrest of Mongolian miner’s chairman on fraud charges
  • Tue, 21 Nov 2017 03:50

Shares of Mongolian coking coal miner SouthGobi Resources, controlled by sovereign wealth fund China Investment Corp (CIC), tumbled by as much as 13.6...

Merkel left searching for route out of crisis
  • Tue, 21 Nov 2017 03:02

November 20, 2017Guy Chazan in Berlin Listen to this article Play audio for this article Pause 00:00 00:00 This is an experimental feature. G...

Restaurant manager robbed after being hit, pinned in Raleigh wreck
  • Tue, 21 Nov 2017 02:43

Officers with the Raleigh Police Department were investigating a crash and a robbery Monday morning after a driver was hit from behind and had their c...

West Ham fans urged to stop 999 calls after 'losing again'
  • Tue, 21 Nov 2017 02:23

Essex Police are urging fans not to call 999 when "West Ham have lost again". BBC News - England

News Categories