The Scottish Government have publicly stated their intention to lift the 1% public sector pay cap. Finance Secretary Derek MacKay told the Scottish Parliament yesterday that the “time is up” for the cap and that the next pay review would take account of rising inflation.
“We will take a reasonable approach that absolutely recognises that the time is up for the one per cent pay cap. Not only will the SNP commit to that, but we will do it,” he told MSPs.
Mr MacKay also advised that ministers would consult with trade unions before making the change next April.
In real terms however, this is nothing more than a stated intention. Public sector workers will have to wait until next April to hear of any changes and even then, the changes may not be implemented immediately.
It is entirely possible that any changes will be introduced over time as was the case with the much-lauded National Living Wage increase to £9 per hour. This was a staged increase which would only reach £9 per hour in 2020, a date which has now been put into doubt by the Office for Budget Responsibility.
There is also of course the many U-Turns performed by both Holyrood and Westminster Governments over the last few years to be considered. Who is to say what the situation will be next April and if indeed the end of the pay cap will be realised.
The intention of the Scottish Government is admirable however, it still leaves public sector workers with almost a year to wait before any changes are proposed, never mind implemented.
As we have seen recently, a month can change a Government quite considerably, a year is a very long time in politics.