I have had correspondence from several constituents in relation to public sector pay. This is a very serious issue and I recognise the strength of feeling about this in NE Bedfordshire and beyond.

Let us be clear, the amendment tabled by Labour during the Queen’s Speech was purely political. It was an attempt to bring down a serious Government who are already signalling new thinking on this issue. Parliament was debating the Queen’s Speech, which sets out the legislative timetable for Parliamentary business. It does not, nor ever has, nor ever will, set out financial issues. Public sector pay is a financial issue, which is dealt with at the annual Budget as it has always been regardless of who is in Government.

Passing this amendment would not have achieved anything other than another general election or a Labour minority government.

The Government has confirmed that the independent public sector pay review board are looking into this and will report back shortly with recommendations for Government. That is the right time to consider changing the pay cap, not during the Queen’s Speech debate. The Government want to look again at public sector pay, as well as deficit reduction, and I am keen to see what proposals come forward with new approaches on pay, efficiency and reform.

I also understand how the public view reports of cheering by MPs. This was a difficult first vote of a new Parliament, and MPs cheering was a natural response to Labour’s defeat on attempting to bring down the Government; it was not in relation to public sector pay.

Please be assured that I am listening, and understand the concerns raised. I will continue to ensure Government colleagues are also aware.