Boris Johnson will ‘show some love’ for public sector workers by handing out bigger pay rises, allies claim – as Hunt accuses him of planning Brexit ‘on a wing and a prayer’
- Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt starting second full week of Tory campaigning
- Mr Hunt is unveiling details of his No Deal Brexit plans with £20billion warchest
- Mr Johnson’s allies say he will show public sector ‘some love’ with big pay rises
Boris Johnson will ‘show some love’ for public sector workers by handing out bigger pay rises if he becomes PM, allies insisted today.
The Tory front runner has vowed to loosen the purse strings in Downing Street, with his Cabinet backer Matt Hancock saying there was now ‘money available’.
But rival Jeremy Hunt has delivered a withering verdict on Mr Johnson’s bullish post-Brexit plans, suggesting he is trying to leave the EU ‘on a wing and a prayer’.
The latest brutal clashes come as the candidates kick off their second full week of campaigning – and the latest before Conservative members start voting.
Mr Johnson is still the hot favourite to win the contest, but Mr Hunt has been boosting his standing by trolling his opponent for dodging scrutiny.
Boris Johnson (pictured on Sky News yesterday) has vowed to loosen the purse strings in Downing Street, with his Cabinet backer Matt Hancock saying there was now ‘money available’
Jeremy Hunt (pictured on the BBC yesterday) is expected to use a speech today to jibe that Britain needs a prime minister ‘prepared to put in the hard yards preparing for No Deal’
Toughening his stance on Brexit in a speech in London today, Mr Hunt will promise to ‘turbocharge’ preparations for No Deal – and make it clear to the EU that he is ‘willing and able’ to walk away if negotiations fail.
But in a swipe at Mr Johnson, he will say it is wrong to minimise concerns about the potential impact of leaving without a trade agreement.
Mr Hunt is expected to say Britain needs a prime minister ‘prepared to put in the hard yards preparing for No Deal’, adding: ‘You cannot leave the EU on a wing and a prayer. Britain deserves better than that.’
The Foreign Secretary will announce a £6billion relief package for farmers and fishermen, who are forecast to be among the worst hit by No Deal.
The candidates have been trading blows over their tax proposals, with Mr Hunt having pledged to slash corporation tax while Mr Johnson has floated cuts for higher earners.
But the biggest dividing line is still over how hard to make the October 31 Brexit deadline. Mr Johnson says the UK must leave on that date ‘come what may’, but Mr Hunt has indicated he wants more wriggle room.
Mr Hunt made enemies in the NHS when he imposed new contracts on junior doctors as Health Secretary in 2016.
And his replacement in the role, Mr Hancock, moved to capitalise on the record today, telling the Times that public sector workers would get a ‘fair’ pay rise under Mr Johnson.
Mr Hancock said: ‘Now that there’s money available we need to show the public sector some love – they do a brilliant job for the country,
‘People in the public sector need to be properly rewarded for the brilliant job they do.
‘Higher pay, not higher taxes, means a pay rise for everyone, including in the public sector.’
A two-year public sector pay freeze was introduced under David Cameron before rises were capped at 1 per cent until 2017 under austerity measures.
Mr Hancock (pictured at Cabinet last week) insisted public sector workers would get a ‘fair’ pay rise under Mr Johnson
Mr Hancock added he had just given junior doctors an 8% pay rise over several years and claimed this showed ‘the days of pay freezes are over’.
However, a spokesman for the Royal College of Nursing, which represents over 300,000 nursing staff in England, said warm words would not help pay the bills of workers whose pay still lagged behind levels a decade ago.
He said: ‘Warm words about public sector workers won’t get any new prime minister very far.
‘The wages of too many still lag behind where they were 10 years ago in real terms.
‘Until their pay matches the education and skills required, the Government will struggle to fill the 40,000 vacant nurse jobs in England.’
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