Newly reelected Banbury MP, Victoria Prentis was one of the 313 Conservative who voted ‘no’ to a Labour amendment to the Queen’s Speech that would have ended the public sector workers pay cap.
Currently the cap only allows a one percent annual rise for thousands of fire fighters, teachers, police officers and NHS doctors and nurses.
Mrs Prentis was reelected during last month’s general election for her second term in office and ran a campaign in which saving Banbury’s Horton Hospital was a prime issue.
On voting against the amendment that could have allowed nurses and doctors to be better reimbursed, Mrs Prentis said: “Before I became a Member of Parliament, I was a senior civil servant and managed a team that effectively had no pay increase for seven consecutive years. I saw first-hand how it affected morale.
“It is vital that public service workers – including those providing frontline services - are treated fairly and given every opportunity to progress and excel in their careers.
“Nowhere is this more important than in our own area given the recruitment challenges facing health services across the county, and particularly at the Horton.
“However, we must understand the costs involved. The amendment was made with very little notice, allowing no opportunity for any of us to look at the implications in sufficient detail.
“Of course, it is right to keep the issue under review and independent advice sought. Over recent years, pay review bodies have done exactly this, making recommendations regularly.
“The NHS Pay Review body last reported in March and said the level should remain at one percent. The next set of recommendations to the Government will be brought forward later this year.
“I do think this is a balanced approach, and I will certainly look at the outcome closely.
She added: “We must also remember that our public services rely on a strong economy. I appreciate that we have had to make difficult decisions over recent years to reduce the national deficit.
“Pay restraint has protected thousands of jobs and frontline services throughout. That said, I am hopeful that we can start to look forward, both locally and nationally, to a more stable future for public services.”
Banbury Cllr Sean Woodcock, leader of the Labour party for Cherwell District Council, responded saying: “For the last seven years, dedicated public sector staff, including nurses, police officers and fire fighters, have had an effective real-terms pay cut, whilst there are ever increasing demands on their services.
“We have seen recently that whenever there is a terrorist incident or a tragedy like the Grenfell Fire, the Conservatives are never short of praise or platitudes for how much they value the work done by frontline staff in our public services.
“Yet when it comes to ensuring these same people are paid properly; they continue to come up short.”
Public sector pay increases of just one percent have been in force for the past seven years and will remain until the end of parliament in 2020.
Labours amendment to the Queens Speech, wanted this removed and pay increases at least in line with inflation to be considered.
In 2015 MPs received a ten percent salary increase. Since then their annual incomes have been raised by 1.4 percent to an annual salary of £74,962.