Tory minister Liam Fox defends £1bn DUP deal and then says UK cannot afford end to public sector pay cap

The Secretary of State for International Trade, appeared on BBC Question Time and said Britain must 'live within its means' 

Friday 30 June 2017 08:11
Liam Fox says we can't afford pay rise for nurses while defending £1bn DUP deal

A Conservative Minister defended the £1bn deal to prop up Theresa May's government with votes from the Northern Irish DUP, and then went on to say Britain cannot afford to give nurses a pay rise.

Liam Fox, the Secretary of State for International Trade, was on BBC Question Time when he justified the deal and followed it up by providing the rationale behind why the public sector pay cap would not be scrapped.

Speaking about the agreement with the DUP, Dr Fox claimed the two parties “share a lot of common elements” and that Northern Ireland needed the funding.

“The MPs from the DUP clearly wanted to get better funding for Northern Ireland for infrastructure and who can blame them,” he said.

“The facilities in Northern Ireland should be better but also Northern Ireland’s infrastructure in terms of its economy has a number of deficiencies and Northern Ireland in terms of exports is the lowest exporting part of the United Kingdom.

“The money will have to come from the Treasury and from within existing programmes that we already have,” Dr Fox added.

The 55-year-old then went on to defend the Government’s position on the public sector pay cap claiming it was important to “live within your means”.

“We have a balance here to strike between our duty to remunerate those who work in the public sector and also to look after the interests of the tax payer who pay those wages," he said.

“...We need to remember when we are talking about our public spending, we are spending as a country £46bn this year in debt interest for which we get nothing at all.

“That’s because of the debts we have run up in the past and the interest we have accrued on those debts.

“We have got to get to a point where we stop doing that. What people call austerity is actually living within your means,” Dr Fox added

Tory and DUP MPs voted against Labour’s attempts to reverse the long-running freeze on public sector pay and Jeremy Corbyn took to social media on Friday morning to slam the Government.

Labour’s amendment, calling for the end of pay increase freezes, was voted down by 323 votes to 309.

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell described the result as an “utter disgrace”.

"Tories and DUP just voted together to oppose Labour's policy to give emergency and public service workers a fair pay rise. Utter disgrace," he said.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

View comments