Boris Johnson warns against ‘crazy Corbynite splurge’ over public sector pay

Boris Johnson has stressed the need to be "fiscally sensible and responsible" in the approach to public sector pay in the latest sign the Government is not about to embark on a spending spree.

Allies of the Foreign Secretary had previously indicated he supported ending the 1% cap on pay rises as splits in the Cabinet emerged over the issue.

But after Theresa May poured cold water on calls for an end to the squeeze on wage rises, Mr Johnson acknowledged it was "important that you manage your economy sensibly" and do not have a spending "splurge".

Mrs May told MPs at Prime Minister's Questions on Wednesday that upcoming recommendations from pay review bodies for teachers, police officers, prison wardens and senior civil servants would be "very carefully" considered.

But she left little doubt her position chimes with that of Chancellor Philip Hammond, who has warned a relaxation of pay restraint would require extra borrowing or tax rises to avoid increasing the deficit.

Mr Johnson told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme there had to be a “balance” and highlighted Mr Hammond’s acknowledgement people were “weary” of restraint.

But he told the programme: “What we believe is that you can’t endlessly borrow, you can’t endlessly spend.

“I think the country has done well to cut the deficit by three quarters in the way that we have and that leads to huge economic benefits, more jobs, more business confidence.

“You can have cheaper interest rates, you can do all sorts of things that matter to people.”

He added: “It is very, very important that you manage your economy sensibly and you don’t just go for a crazy Corbynite splurge.”

But it was important to “recognise that people are weary of restraint” and when the public sector pay review bodies report the Government would look at them “very closely”.

He said: “The price we don’t want to pay for whatever we do is lost jobs, higher unemployment and a weaker economy.

“What you have seen over the last few years is a Conservative government resolutely bearing down on the deficit, helping to put our finances back in shape after they were wrecked by the last Labour government.

“We are not going to put that at risk.

“Every sensible government wants to make sure that people have a well paid, secure job.

“That is what we want to achieve.”

The Foreign Secretary, who has long been viewed as a potential Tory leader, praised the “unbelievable grace and steel” Mrs May has shown over the last few weeks after things “did not frankly look too brilliant on the morning of June 9, it looked very difficult”.

“She has put things back together, she has got the show on the road, she is delivering a stable government as she said she would and we are getting on with it,” he said.

Calling for an end to speculation about her future he said: “The last thing people want is any more of this kind of nonsense.

“They want to see a long period of stability and calm and progress for the British people.”


PA Wire

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