New chancellor Nadhim Zahawi would not commit to giving senior teachers a bigger pay rise – something he was lobbying Treasury for while education secretary just last week.
Speaking to national media this morning after his promotion in last night’s dramatic reshuffle, Zahawi said he will wait for the pay review bodies before making a decision.
Zahawi proposed a nine per cent rise next year for new teachers, but just three per cent for all others.
But it was reported last week that Zahawi – while education secretary – had asked the Treasury for more funding so he could up the rise for senior teachers next year to five per cent.
The current government proposals would see senior teacher pay rise by five per cent, but over the next two years.
Teaching unions have threatened to ballot members for strike action if inflation-matching pay rises are not delivered next year.
Speaking to Sky News this morning, his first interview since being promoted to chancellor, he was asked about upping teacher pay.
Zahawi recommitted to his proposals to raise teacher starting salaries up to £30,000 – which will see a nine per cent pay rise next year and seven per cent the following year for new teachers.
He then added: “And senior teachers will get that five per cent that I’ve proposed. I will look at the recommendations for the review bodies across the board.”
It was not clear whether this meant speeding up the five per cent rise to next year, as Zahawi was lobbying the treasury for.
Speaking to Times Radio, he then seemed to downplay his position. He said he had promised a five per cent pay rise for senior teachers over two years and would wait to see what the school review teachers’ pay body recommends before making a decision.
“We will look at what pay review bodies will recommend, and share our thinking where we land,” he said.
He later told Radio 4 that the government will make a “collective decision”, but warned the “important thing is fiscal discpline”.
Even if Zahawi did agree to a bigger rise – there is no word on whether this would be funded by Treasury.
If not, it leaves schools taking a bigger hit from their own budgets to fund the rise.