Lib Dem rank hypocrisy on regional pay

The SNP has condemned the rank hypocrisy of Lib Dem Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander who has said he needed "overwhelming evidence" for his party to move towards regional pay only weeks after a letter revealed he had been promoting the policy.

Speaking to the BBC, Mr Alexander said: "We have been looking at local market-facing pay in the public sector...But they would have to be come up with some pretty overwhelming evidence for us to move in that direction."

This is in contrast to a letter he sent to the First Minister of Wales in January this year saying: "I am keen to see local, market-facing pay introduced across the UK."

And in a subsequent letter to the Welsh finance minister Jane Hutt, he further promoted the policy by writing: “I believe there may be benefits to local areas across the UK of more local, market-facing public sector pay."

John Finnie, SNP MSP for Highlands and Islands, says Mr Alexander should come clean on what his actual position is to regional pay.

He said:

“Mr Alexander has got himself in a right mess – one minute he’s supporting the policy and actively making the case for regional pay, the next he says he needs "overwhelming evidence" before supporting it.

“Which is it? He owes his constituents the right to know exactly where he stands because up until now it has been far from clear.

“It seems to be that it simply depends on where he is getting quoted what his position is.

“But his comments supporting the policy demonstrate rank hypocrisy from Mr Alexander who should be helping public sector workers in this tough financial climate, not penalising them.”

Mr Finnie added:

“Clearly the Lib Dems are becoming more Tory every day – it beggars belief that a Highland MP appears to be championing a policy which could lead to unfair pay cuts for local public sector workers.

“While the Tory government cuts welfare benefits, the SNP’s current pay policy supports lower paid workers through the Living Wage of £7.20 per hour.”