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Rishi Sunak says 'people may not like' his decisions' but they will be 'right and responsible'
26 June 2023, 13:58 | Updated: 26 June 2023, 14:37
Rishi Sunak has hinted he will ignore recommendations for public sector pay rises, saying workers "need to recognise the economic context we are in".
Speaking amid a continuing row over public sector pay, Mr Sunak said: "It is important that we don't make the inflation situation worse and it is important we prioritise the things that are right.
"I am making the decisions that are right for the long term and that is what I am going to continue doing."
Unions and opposition parties have hit out at the rumoured decision, saying inflation was not being driven by the wages of nurses and teachers, but by the economic decisions taken by the Conservatives over their 13 years in power.
Today, when asked if public sector pay was a major driver of that inflation, Mr Sunak said: "Government borrowing is something that would make inflation worse, so the government has to make priorities and decisions about where best to target our resources.
"And that's why when it comes to public sector pay, we need to be fair, but we need to be responsible as well."
Next month junior doctors are set to take part in a five-day strike over pay and conditions.
Calling for pay restoration equating to a 35% rise, the British Medical Association (BMA) said wages had decreased by more than a quarter since 2008 when inflation was taken into account, and many doctors were burnt out from an increasing workload.
Mr Sunak said: "I think everyone can see the economic context we are in, with inflation higher than we'd like it, and it is important in that context that the government makes the right and responsible decisions in things like public sector pay.
"It is very disappointing that junior doctors have taken the decision that they have done. Over half a million people's treatments have already been disrupted and I don't think anyone wants to see that carry on - it's just going to make it harder to bring waiting lists down."