Wales politics

Regional pay would be a 'disaster', says Welsh Lib Dem leader

Kirsty Williams
Image caption Kirsty Williams: "...strongly and firmly opposed to the introduction of regional pay in Wales"

Regional pay in the public sector would be a disaster, says the leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats.

Kirsty Williams spoke out despite comments backing the idea from Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander.

Mr Alexander, a Liberal Democrat, said he was "keen to see local, market-facing pay introduced across the UK".

His comments came in a letter to First Minister Carwyn Jones released under the Freedom of Information Act.

But Ms Williams said: "We are strongly and firmly opposed to the introduction of regional pay in Wales.

"Welsh Liberal Democrats do not believe that regional pay will stimulate the local economy; in fact the introduction of regional pay would be disastrous for Welsh workers and the Welsh economy."

She said Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and Business Secretary Vince Cable had spoken out against the idea of regional pay.

"I have been lobbying the UK government to stop the introduction of regional pay and I will continue to put pressure on them so that regional pay is not introduced," said Ms Williams.

All parties in the assembly, including the Welsh Conservatives, have expressed concern at the idea of differential pay rates around the UK.

In his Budget in March, Chancellor George Osborne said local factors, such as the cost of living and private sector pay rates, should be taken into account in future when awarding salaries.

Mr Clegg said last month that no decision had been made.

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