Pay: U-turn on pledge to council workers

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The Government was accused last night of breaking a promise to pay £250 to 800,000 council workers after news that it was being withdrawn. The GMB union said it was a "disgrace" that the money would not be paid to workers earning less than £21,000.

George Osborne told MPs that workers in the armed forces, prison service, NHS, teachers and civil servants earning £21,000 or less will receive the £250. But union leaders said they had been told the Chancellor had withdrawn a pledge made in last June's Budget that the money would be paid to hundreds of thousands of local authority employees as well.

GMB national officer Brian Strutton said: "More than half of the 1.7 million workers originally covered by the promise are now excluded, including care workers, school dinner ladies, street cleaners, refuse workers, teaching assistants and social workers. It's a disgrace and George Osborne should publicly apologise for breaking his word."