Tories poised to break pledge to pay all teachers at least £30,000 a year

Boris Johnson won the election off the back of the £30,000 pledge (Image: PA)

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The Tories look poised to break their own manifesto pledge to pay all teachers in England at least £30,000 a year by 2022.

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson promised last year to hike starting salaries by almost £6,000 to meet the promise.

But that looks set to be dashed as Chancellor Rishi Sunak draws up plans to freeze almost 4million public sector workers’ pay next spring.

If teachers’ pay was frozen in 2021/22, then to meet the pledge, junior teachers would need a single pay rise of more than £4,000 in 2022/23.

The starting salary pledge was in last year’s Tory manifesto, but Downing Street today repeatedly refused to guarantee it will happen.

Junior teachers may need a single pay rise of more than £4,000 in 2022/23
(Image: POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

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Asked if the government stood by its commitment to pay all teachers £30,000 a year by 2022/23, the PM’s official spokesman replied: “You wouldn’t expect me to comment on what could or may or may not be in the spending review next week.”

When told it was a manifesto commitment, he replied: “It’s for the Chancellor to set out spending at the spending review next week.”

It comes as Boris Johnson faces a furious backlash after his Chancellor drew up plans to freeze 4million workers’ pay next year.

Unions branded the plans for 2021/22 an “insult” that will destroy morale while Britain is still battling the coronavirus pandemic.

Rishi Sunak is widely expected to announce the plan – a real-term cut once inflation is included – in next Wednesday’s spending review.

It would include teachers, Armed Forces, police, Whitehall civil servants, council and government agency staff – but NHS staff are said to be exempt.

Unions branded the plans for 2021/22 an “insult” that will destroy morale
(Image: Getty Images)

Treasury sources last night failed to deny the plan, and said it would be “unfair” to let public pay rise more than the private sector.

Yet millions of public sector workers are still recovering from seven years of pay freezes and caps under Tory austerity.

Teachers’ starting salaries in England rose this year from £24,373 to £25,714, but are still well short of the £30,000 target.

The School Teachers’ Review Body warned in July that it could prove difficult to meet the target amid coronavirus.

Pay reviewers warned there was “very significant uncertainty about the state of the economy and of the public finances”.

And they said such a large increase in starting salaries would mean having to “flatten” pay progression for more experienced teachers.

They added: “Our consideration of the approach on teachers’ pay in 2021/22 and 2022/23 will need to take account of the evidence available at the time”.

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