The public sector pay cap: what you need to know

The Scottish Government has announced that from next year the public sector pay cap will be lifted, ensuring that public sector pay increases better reflect rising living costs.

Here’s what you need to know.


We have announced plans to lift the public sector pay cap in Scotland.


Tory social security cuts and a rising cost of living mean that the public sector pay cap is increasingly unsustainable. That’s why, from next year, the SNP Scottish Government will end the 1 per cent cap on public sector pay increases.


For our NHS, the Health Secretary has already asked organisations that represent NHS staff to work together on a fair settlement.


The Scottish Government has already put in place a pay policy that supports people on the lowest incomes and protects jobs.


The SNP government has paid all staff within its pay policy, including NHS staff, the real Living Wage since 2011 and was the first administration in the UK to be an accredited Living Wage employer. We’ve also now extended the real Living Wage to all social care staff.


In our NHS we have ensured that staff get the pay increases in line with independent recommendations. That means that nurses in Scotland are better paid than anywhere else in the UK.


And we remain committed to continuing our policy of no compulsory redundancies.


The Tory government should follow our lead and scrap the public sector pay cap.


The Finance Secretary has written to the Chancellor of the Exchequer urging the UK Government to lift the cap for these workers too – following the lead of the SNP Scottish Government. This will mean a wage increase for public staff in Scotland working for reserved public bodies, including HMRC and the Department of Work and Pensions.


You can read the letter in full here.


The Labour government in Wales has refused to commit to lifting the cap.


The Welsh First Minister, Carwyn Jones, has confirmed that the Welsh Government will not lift the public sector pay cap unless the Westminster government does so first.

Read more here about our policies on jobs and pay in our Policy Base.