July 12, 2022, 8:42 p.m. | Updated: July 12, 2022, 8:49 PM
Conservative leadership candidate Nadhim Zahawi has urged teachers and nurses to “show discipline on pay” amid rising inflation.
Public sector workers are increasingly irritated by delays in wage increases, which they say are at least in line with spiraling inflation.
There are fears that any agreement on wages will be further delayed after Boris Johnson resigns, with a new prime minister not expected to be in place until September.
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The Chancellor told LBC: “This is a time when I have to say to all public sector workers, teachers, nurses, everyone else…we need to be disciplined on pay. This is how I reduce inflation.”
He added that “we all need to work together to fight inflation because if we don’t it is extremely harmful.”
“What we need to do is fight inflation,” he said.
Just weeks ago, when he was education secretary, Mr Zahawi was pushing for a pay rise for teachers after pledging to raise starting salaries in the profession by 9 per cent.
Mr Zahawi is one of eight remaining candidates to qualify for the next round of the Conservative leadership race.
He also told Iain Dale he had put country before party by calling for Mr Johnson’s resignation last week.
He submitted a letter just 24 hours after being promoted to Chancellor, which would have been the final straw for the Prime Minister.
He said: “On Wednesday afternoon it became apparent to me that so many ministers had resigned, it was becoming almost impossible to form a functioning government and I decided to go to No 10 and meet the Prime Minister. and to tell him that I think it will be impossible for us to continue as a functioning government.
“I felt it was fair and it was my responsibility to tell my friend that he needed to think about his position and decide on this and control this situation rather than let it descend into chaos.”
But he added that it would have been “irresponsible” for him to have destabilized the Treasury by resigning.