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UK public sector workers get biggest pay rise in years: Times

[LONDON] Around one million public sector workers in Britain will receive their biggest pay rise in years on Tuesday, including teachers, prison officers, doctors, military personnel and dentists, the Times of London newspaper reported.

Teachers will receive pay increases of 3.5 per cent, backdated to April, while members of the armed forces will be given rises of 2 per cent with a 0.9 per cent bonus for the current financial year, the Times said, without citing sources.

The finance ministry did not comment directly on the report but said they would be submitting written statements to parliament later in the day.

While Britain's government had already announced it will relax its public sector pay cap for some workers, the Times said Prime Minister Theresa May and finance minister Philip Hammond had "rushed through" the deal ahead of parliament's mid-year recess.

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May's government has endured a rocky couple of months.

Some of her top ministers resigned over her approach to Brexit and she has acceded to the demands of hardline Brexit campaigners in a series of knife-edge votes in parliament that have exposed the fragility of her administration.

The Times said there was no new money coming from the finance ministry to fund the pay rises, with the exception of the health ministry which has already received money for higher pay for nurses.

Public sector pay was frozen for all but the lowest earners in 2010 and increases were limited to of 1 percent a year from 2013. May has been under increasing pressure from ministers and lawmakers to raise pay for public sector workers since her party lost its majority in parliament in elections in June 2017.

The breakdown of the pay increases will also be of interest to the Bank of England, which is keeping a close on wages as it weighs up whether to raise interests next week.

REUTERS