If you have a story call our newsdesk on 01722 426511 or email us. To advertise call 01722 426500.
Call to scrap regional pay plans
Most people want the Government to scrap controversial plans for regional pay, believing the move would be unfair on public sector workers, according to new research.
A survey of over 1,000 adults for the TUC found that only one in four supported the idea of different wage rates for nurses, teachers and other workers, in different parts of the country.
Around two thirds said the plans should be dropped and a similar number described regional pay as unfair.
Three out of four Liberal Democrat supporters and just over half of Tories did not want the plans to go ahead.
Unions have warned that local pay rates would make it more difficult for schools and hospitals in poorer areas of the country to recruit staff because wages in those areas would be reduced.
TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber said: "Ministers should be listening to those MPs who live in less affluent parts of the UK and who are only too aware of the damaging impact that an even longer public sector pay freeze could have on their local economies, which are already taking a hammering as families rein in their spending and austerity bites hard.
"Apart from the obvious unfairness of paying a teacher in Gateshead less than one teaching in Gloucester, wildly varying pay rates will make it much harder for schools in poorer areas of the country to attract and retain good quality staff.
"Similarly, if individual hospitals are going to be told that in future they are going to have to set their own rates of pay, the time and complexity of the resulting wage negotiations, and subsequent problems with recruitment, as staff that can migrate to parts of the NHS able to pay higher salaries, could have a damaging impact on patient care.
"The Government's regional pay plans will not help create a single new job in the private sector, and can only do harm to already struggling local economies.
"The most sensible thing ministers could do is drop these ill-thought out plans and concentrate instead on policies that will tackle unemployment and increase the UK's chances of creating economic growth."