January 27, 2023

Sunak claims giving in to public sector wage demands could cost families £1,000 in higher taxes

Rishi Sunak has claimed families would have to pay an extra £1,000 a year if the government fully complied with public sector workers’ wage demands.

When asked about the strikes on a visit to RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire, he said:

The government will always try to act fairly and reasonably.

What I’m not going to do is ask ordinary families across the country to pay an extra £1,000 a year to meet union leaders’ wage demands. That would not be right or fair.

In a clip for broadcasters, when asked to give details of new anti-union legislation being planned, Sunak would not go beyond saying he was looking at “tough” new laws. He said:

We are now looking at everything in a fast-paced way, but my priority will be to protect lives and minimize disruption to people’s lives.

The government therefore does its best to act reasonably. So we fully adopted the recommendations of independent bodies that make recommendations to the government on public sector pay schemes, and often those pay schemes were higher than what many people in the private sector receive, but the government fully accepted them to be reasonable, to be honest.

But right now, we’re also trying to minimize disruption to people’s lives, which is why we’re looking at tough new laws.

When pushing for aid workers to be banned from striking, Sunak said he was “looking at all options”.

And he said again that he wanted to be “always reasonable” – using the word he and No. 10 now obsessively use when describing their strike policies.

Rishi Sunak at RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire
Rishi Sunak at RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire Photo: Joe Giddens/PA

Rishi Sunak has claimed that families would have to pay an extra £1,000 a year if the government met the pay demands of public sector workers in full.

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On a visit to RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire, asked about the strikes, he said:

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The government is always going to try and act fairly and reasonably.

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What I’m not going to do is ask ordinary families up and down the country to pay an extra £1,000 a year to meet the pay demands of the union bosses. That wouldn’t be right and it wouldn’t be fair.

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In a clip for broadcasters, when asked to give details of the new anti-union legislation being planned, Sunak would not go beyond saying he was looking at “tough” new laws. He said:

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We’re looking at everything right now at pace but my priority is going to be to protect lives and to minimise the disruption on people’s lives.

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So the government is trying its best to act reasonably. That’s why we’ve accepted in full the recommendations of independent bodies who make recommendations to the government about pay settlements in the public sector, and often those pay settlements have been higher than what many people in the private sector are receiving, but the government accepted them in full to be reasonable, to be fair.

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But it’s right now that we also look to minimise the disruption on people’s lives and that’s why we’re looking at tough new laws.

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When pressed on whether emergency workers could be banned from going on strike, Sunak just said he was “looking at all options”.

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And he again said he wanted to “always be reasonable” – using the word that he and No 10 are now using obsessively when describing their policy on strikes.

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claims giving in to public sector pay demands could cost families £1,000 in higher taxes”,”contributors”:[],”primaryDateLine”:”Fri 9 Dec 2022 11.30 GMT”,”secondaryDateLine”:”First published on Fri 9 Dec 2022 10.56 GMT”},{“id”:”6392e6028f08222b5ee87c22″,”elements”:[{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement”,”html”:”

Good morning, and I’m sorry for the late start.

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There is a big financial announcement from the government this morning, which can be added to the list of things the Treasury is doing now which undo, wholly or partly, things that the Treasury was doing when the Conservatives first came to office. My colleague Graeme Wearden is covering that on his business live blog.

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In non-business politics, there are interesting developments in asylum policy today. As my colleague Kiran Stacey reports, Yvette Cooper, the shadow home secretary, has said Labour would rush through asylum applications for people from certain countries deemed “safe”, including Albania, in an attempt to clear the backlog of claims.

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And in the House of Lords Justin Welby, the archbishop of Canterbury, has just opened a debate on asylum and refugee policy. He called for a “compassionate” asylum policy and, in what seemed like a criticism of the language used by Suella Braverman, the home secretary, he said it was wrong to demonise asylum seekers.

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A compassionate policy is one that has confidence to regret reject the shrill narrative that all who come to us for help should be treated as liars, scroungers or less than fully human.

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Braverman has never said all asylum seekers are criminals, but she has said many Albanian ones are.

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Welby also restated his criticism of the government’s plan to deport asylum seekers to Rwanda. He and the other bishops in the House of Lords were united in thinking this was “an immoral policy that shames Britain”, he said.

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But he also attacked not just the morality of government policy, but its efficiency. It was taking far too long to process asylum claims, he said. He told peers

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The average processing time for an asylum case is currently around 15 months. It should be a maximum of six. In Germany, in 2021, the average asylum procedure took 6.6 months, despite a far higher refugee and asylum seeker population.

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Nearly one third of those who’ve been waiting more than six months are made up of nationals from 10 countries that have a successful application rate of between 75 and 99%.

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It is ridiculous, and disgraceful, that people fleeing Afghanistan and Syria are having to wait so long when their applications will almost certainly be granted.

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Here is the agenda for the day.

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Morning: MPs debate private members’ bills, including Greg Clark’s protection from sex-based harrasment in public bill. The government announced yesterday that it is in favour of legislating to create “an offence of public sexual harassment”.

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10am: The House of Lords holds a debate on the asylum and refugee policy, proposed by Justin Welby, the archbishop of Canterbury.

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Morning: Rishi Sunak is on a visit in Lincolnshire.

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Afternoon: Jeremy Hunt, the chancellor, is due to give an interview to broadcasters about his plans for an overhaul of City regulation.

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Afternoon: James Cleverly, the foreign secretary, holds a press conference in London with his German opposite number, Annalena Baerbock.

“,”elementId”:”2af42613-d8af-473d-b368-463ce3dba4f2″},{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement”,”html”:”

I try to monitor the comments below the line (BTL) but it is impossible to read them all. If you have a direct question, do include “Andrew” in it somewhere and I’m more likely to find it. I do try to answer questions and, if they are of general interest, I will post the question and reply above the line (ATL), although I can’t promise to do this for everyone.

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If you want to attract my attention quickly, it is probably better to use Twitter. I’m on @AndrewSparrow.

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Alternatively, you can email me at andrew.sparrow@theguardian.com.

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Key events

Rishi Sunak has claimed that families would have to pay an extra £1,000 a year if the government met the pay demands of public sector workers in full.

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On a visit to RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire, asked about the strikes, he said:

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The government is always going to try and act fairly and reasonably.

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What I’m not going to do is ask ordinary families up and down the country to pay an extra £1,000 a year to meet the pay demands of the union bosses. That wouldn’t be right and it wouldn’t be fair.

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In a clip for broadcasters, when asked to give details of the new anti-union legislation being planned, Sunak would not go beyond saying he was looking at “tough” new laws. He said:

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We’re looking at everything right now at pace but my priority is going to be to protect lives and to minimise the disruption on people’s lives.

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So the government is trying its best to act reasonably. That’s why we’ve accepted in full the recommendations of independent bodies who make recommendations to the government about pay settlements in the public sector, and often those pay settlements have been higher than what many people in the private sector are receiving, but the government accepted them in full to be reasonable, to be fair.

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But it’s right now that we also look to minimise the disruption on people’s lives and that’s why we’re looking at tough new laws.

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When pressed on whether emergency workers could be banned from going on strike, Sunak just said he was “looking at all options”.

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And he again said he wanted to “always be reasonable” – using the word that he and No 10 are now using obsessively when describing their policy on strikes.

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claims giving in to public sector pay demands could cost families £1,000 in higher taxes”,”contributors”:[],”primaryDateLine”:”Fri 9 Dec 2022 11.30 GMT”,”secondaryDateLine”:”First published on Fri 9 Dec 2022 10.56 GMT”},{“id”:”6392e6028f08222b5ee87c22″,”elements”:[{“_type”:”model.dotcomrendering.pageElements.TextBlockElement”,”html”:”

Good morning, and I’m sorry for the late start.

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There is a big financial announcement from the government this morning, which can be added to the list of things the Treasury is doing now which undo, wholly or partly, things that the Treasury was doing when the Conservatives first came to office. My colleague Graeme Wearden is covering that on his business live blog.

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In non-business politics, there are interesting developments in asylum policy today. As my colleague Kiran Stacey reports, Yvette Cooper, the shadow home secretary, has said Labour would rush through asylum applications for people from certain countries deemed “safe”, including Albania, in an attempt to clear the backlog of claims.

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And in the House of Lords Justin Welby, the archbishop of Canterbury, has just opened a debate on asylum and refugee policy. He called for a “compassionate” asylum policy and, in what seemed like a criticism of the language used by Suella Braverman, the home secretary, he said it was wrong to demonise asylum seekers.

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A compassionate policy is one that has confidence to regret reject the shrill narrative that all who come to us for help should be treated as liars, scroungers or less than fully human.

\n

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Braverman has never said all asylum seekers are criminals, but she has said many Albanian ones are.

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Welby also restated his criticism of the government’s plan to deport asylum seekers to Rwanda. He and the other bishops in the House of Lords were united in thinking this was “an immoral policy that shames Britain”, he said.

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But he also attacked not just the morality of government policy, but its efficiency. It was taking far too long to process asylum claims, he said. He told peers

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The average processing time for an asylum case is currently around 15 months. It should be a maximum of six. In Germany, in 2021, the average asylum procedure took 6.6 months, despite a far higher refugee and asylum seeker population.

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Nearly one third of those who’ve been waiting more than six months are made up of nationals from 10 countries that have a successful application rate of between 75 and 99%.

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It is ridiculous, and disgraceful, that people fleeing Afghanistan and Syria are having to wait so long when their applications will almost certainly be granted.

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Here is the agenda for the day.

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Morning: MPs debate private members’ bills, including Greg Clark’s protection from sex-based harrasment in public bill. The government announced yesterday that it is in favour of legislating to create “an offence of public sexual harassment”.

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10am: The House of Lords holds a debate on the asylum and refugee policy, proposed by Justin Welby, the archbishop of Canterbury.

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Morning: Rishi Sunak is on a visit in Lincolnshire.

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Afternoon: Jeremy Hunt, the chancellor, is due to give an interview to broadcasters about his plans for an overhaul of City regulation.

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Afternoon: James Cleverly, the foreign secretary, holds a press conference in London with his German opposite number, Annalena Baerbock.

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I try to monitor the comments below the line (BTL) but it is impossible to read them all. If you have a direct question, do include “Andrew” in it somewhere and I’m more likely to find it. I do try to answer questions and, if they are of general interest, I will post the question and reply above the line (ATL), although I can’t promise to do this for everyone.

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If you want to attract my attention quickly, it is probably better to use Twitter. I’m on @AndrewSparrow.

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Alternatively, you can email me at andrew.sparrow@theguardian.com.

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Rishi Sunak’s claim that families would have to pay £1,000 more in taxes if the government gave in to public sector union wage demands is based on her estimate that this would cost the Treasury an additional £28 billion.

Previously, ministers have argued that they should oppose the wage demands of the unions, as agreeing to them would be inflationary. But more recently they have used the figure of £28bn and dismissed the demands as simply prohibitive. Presumably they think or know that people find this argument more persuasive.

But is it really true? Earlier this week, the BBC published a reality check analysis saying the £28bn figure seemed a bit high. It said:

The public sector foots the bill for everyone 5.7 million employees amounted to approximately £233 billion last year.

Inflation is expected to be around 10% this year, so you could assume that an inflationary wage increase would cost around £23 billion.

There are about 28 million households in the UK, so that’s about £820 per household.

But Ben Zaranko of the Institute of Fiscal Studies points out that it’s not really about the number, because the government had already budgeted for an average 3% wage increase for the public sector, so raise that to match inflation would cost around £18 billionor about £640 per household.

And here are the IFS numbers, from the green budget, on the cost of giving public sector workers a pay raise that matches inflation.

The cost of paying public sector employees increases in line with inflation
The cost of paying public sector employees increases in line with inflation Photo: IFS

Sunak claims giving in to public sector wage demands could cost families £1,000 in higher taxes

Rishi Sunak has claimed families would have to pay an extra £1,000 a year if the government fully complied with public sector workers’ wage demands.

When asked about the strikes on a visit to RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire, he said:

The government will always try to act fairly and reasonably.

What I’m not going to do is ask ordinary families across the country to pay an extra £1,000 a year to meet union leaders’ wage demands. That would not be right or fair.

In a clip for broadcasters, when asked to give details of new anti-union legislation being planned, Sunak would not go beyond saying he was looking at “tough” new laws. He said:

We are now looking at everything in a fast-paced way, but my priority will be to protect lives and minimize disruption to people’s lives.

The government therefore does its best to act reasonably. So we fully adopted the recommendations of independent bodies that make recommendations to the government on public sector pay schemes, and often those pay schemes were higher than what many people in the private sector receive, but the government fully accepted them to be reasonable, to be honest.

But right now, we’re also trying to minimize disruption to people’s lives, which is why we’re looking at tough new laws.

When pushing for aid workers to be banned from striking, Sunak said he was “looking at all options”.

And he said again that he wanted to be “always reasonable” – using the word he and No. 10 now obsessively use when describing their strike policies.

Rishi Sunak at RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire
Rishi Sunak at RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire Photo: Joe Giddens/PA

Archbishop condemns government asylum policy, says Rwandan scheme ‘immoral’ and processing delays ‘disgraceful’

Good morning, and I’m sorry for the late start.

There is a big financial announcement from the government this morning, which can be added to the list of things the Treasury is doing now that will undo all or part of the things the Treasury did when the Conservatives first came to power. My colleague Graeme Worden covers that on his business live blog.

In non-business politics, there are interesting developments in asylum policy today. As my colleague Kiran Stacey reports, Yvette Cooper, The shadow home secretary has said Labor would cut asylum applications from people from certain countries deemed “safe”, including Albania, in a bid to clear the backlog of applications.

And in the House of Lords Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury, has just opened a debate on asylum and refugee policy. He called for a “compassionate” asylum policy and, in what appeared to be criticism of the language used by Suella Braverman, the Home Secretary, said it was wrong to demonize asylum seekers.

A compassionate policy is one that has the confidence to reject the stark narrative that anyone who comes to us for help should be treated as liars, scoundrels, or less than fully human.

Braverman never said that all asylum seekers are criminals, but that many Albanians are.

Welby also reiterated his criticism of the government’s plan to deport asylum seekers to Rwanda. He and the other bishops in the House of Lords agreed that this was “an immoral policy that puts Britain to shame,” he said.

But he also attacked not only the morality of public policy, but also its efficiency. It takes far too long to process asylum applications, he said. He told colleagues

The average processing time of an asylum case is currently approximately 15 months. There can be a maximum of six. In Germany, the average asylum procedure took 6.6 months in 2021, despite a much larger population of refugees and asylum seekers.

Almost a third of those who wait longer than six months are nationals of 10 countries with a success rate of between 75 and 99%.

It is ridiculous and disgraceful that people fleeing Afghanistan and Syria have to wait so long before their applications are almost certain to be granted.

Here is the agenda for the day.

Morning: MPs debate private members’ bills, including protecting Greg Clark from sex-based harassment in public bills. The government announced yesterday that it would support legislation to create “an offense of public sexual harassment”.

10 hours: The House of Lords is holding a debate on asylum and refugee policy proposed by Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Morning: Rishi Sunak is visiting Lincolnshire.

Afternoon: Jeremy Hunt, the chancellor, will give an interview to broadcasters about his plans for a council regulation review.

Afternoon: James Cleverly, the Secretary of State, holds a press conference in London with his German counterpart, Annalena Baerbock.

I’m trying to follow the comments below the line (BTL) but it’s impossible to read them all. If you have a direct question, add “Andrew” somewhere and I’ll be more likely to find him. I’ll try to answer questions and, if they’re of public interest, I’ll post the question and answer above the line (ATL), although I can’t promise to do this for everyone.

If you want to get my attention quickly, you’re probably better off using Twitter. I am at @Andrew Sparrow.

You can also email me at andrew.sparrow@theguardian.com.

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