Nippy Nicola puts whingeing policeman firmly in his place over pay
By Bill Heaney
Nicola Sturgeon was in danger of getting herself “lifted” in the Scottish Parliament yesterday.
The First Minister showed she was feart of no one when she turned on an MSP who was whingeing on behalf of a policeman at FMQs.
It happened when Tory Graham Simpson raised the matter of a pay award for policemen.
He said: “Following the pay deal with teachers, I and some other members of the Scottish Parliament were contacted last week by a serving police officer , who wrote ‘Whilst I appreciate that teachers have worked hard and do deserve a pay rise, why is it that NHS staff were given 9% and police officers only 6.5%?’”
Mr Simpson, rather timidly taking the heat off himself, added an “it wisnae me” clause – “I remind members that those are the words of a serving police officer.”
The MSP then went on to ask on behalf of the officer: “Does the Scottish Government place the value of Police Officers as only half that of School Teachers?
“Is it that the Government know that because Police Officers cannot strike or take any real industrial action that they are an easy target?”
“What would the First Minister say to that police officer and thousands of others?”
The First Minister, pictured left, was not a happy lady.
She replied: “Parts of those comments were quite disgraceful. I value all public sector workers, and I thank them for the work that they do.
“The police pay award is the best award for police officers anywhere in the United Kingdom.
“The Scottish Police Federation described it as the best pay award in 20 years.
“If the member thinks that 6.5 per cent is not good enough—and I would love to pay all our public sector workers even more than we are—I wonder what he makes of the 2 per cent that has been awarded to police officers in England by his Tory colleagues in the Westminster Government?
“That was described by the head of the Metropolitan Police as ‘a punch on the nose’ for police officers.”
She added: “Many of our national health service workers in Scotland get higher pay than NHS workers do in England, because of the value that we attach to the work that they do.
“Teachers were previously offered a very good pay deal and have now been offered an exceptionally good pay deal. That is a recognition of the good work that they do. I value all public sector workers.
“If people look at any group of public sector workers, they will find that the value that is attached to them by the Scottish Government is much greater than the value that is attached to their counterparts in England by the Tory Government at Westminster.”