Local authority social workers will receive a 2% pay increase over the next two years, it has been announced.
Council employees in England, Wales and Northern Ireland earning more than £17,714 will receive a 1% pay rise from 1 April 2016, and a further 1% increase on 1 April 2017.
National Living Wage
Those on lower wages will receive a higher increase to factor in the new National Living Wage, introduced from April 2016.
The offer made to unions today will affect more than 1 million people, and represents a total increase to the national pay bill of 2.4% or £364.2m.
The proposal is in line with the 1% pay cap for public sector employees over the next four years, announced by chancellor George Osborne in the Summer Budget, in July.
The real-terms impact of the pay offer will depend on inflation over the next two years. The government’s preferred measure – the consumer prices index (CPI) – is currently running at about 0, but is expected to rise next year, reaching 1.8% by the second half of 2017, according to the independent Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR). However the retail prices index, which, unlike CPI, includes housing costs, is currently running at 1% and is due to rise to 3% in 2017, meaning the deal would constitute a pay cut in real terms against this inflation measure.
The Local Government Association chair representing employers, Sian Timoney, said: “Despite the challenges now facing local authorities following the Spending Review and new National Living Wage, there is a broad consensus among councils that there should be a pay offer to staff this year.
“We believe this is a fair deal for employees given the limits of what we can afford, and a fair deal for the taxpayers and residents who use and pay for the vital services which local government provides.”
Unison local government lead, Heather Wakefield, said: “Unison’s National Joint Council committee will meet on Monday to consider the full details of the LGA’s pay offer. The committee will then decide the basis of the union’s consultation with members.
“The three NJC unions – UNISON, Unite and GMB – will meet in February to consider the outcome of their respective consultation processes and to decide next steps.”.