Rachel Reeves and Anna Turley with campaigners in RedcarGeorge Osborne looks set to get a surprise through the post next week - a giant postcard from Redcar. 

Rachel Reeves, Labour’s Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury joined Anna Turley, Labour and Co-operative parliamentary candidate for Redcar on Coatham High Street on Friday to invite people to co-sign a postcard against government moves to introduce regional rates of pay. 

The Chancellor of the Exchequer is currently consulting on proposals to end national pay rates for public sector workers. This would see the introduction of local pay rates, which could mean workers on Teesside being paid less than people doing an identical job in more affluent areas of the country. 

The postcard was organised by Anna Turley on behalf of the 8000 public sectors in Redcar who could be hit by the change and will be delivered to the Treasury.   

Weekly wages in the Redcar constituency are already on average £70 lower than the national average.  Research by the New Economic Foundation calculates that regional and local pay could take out £761m from the region’s economy. 

Shadow Cabinet Minister Rachel Reeves and Anna Turley later visited Redcar Community College to talk to staff about their concerns about the introduction of local pay rates. 

Anna Turley said: 

“Proposals to introduce regional pay will hit people hard here in Redcar. The idea that reducing thousands of people’s pay on Teesside will somehow be good for the economy is ridiculous. Does George Osborne really believe that cutting the pay of teachers and teaching assistants at Redcar Community College or a nurse at James Cook will deliver the economic growth we need? 

“We already have some of the lowest average wages in the country. Labour believes in an approach where you get paid for your job, your skills and your experience - not your postcode. I want to send a big message to George Osborne that he should drop these proposals now and concentrate on getting our economy growing again, something he has failed to do for the past 2 years.” 

Rachel Reeves MP, Labour’s Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury said: 

"We have consistently opposed the Government's plans to undermine the pay review bodies by shifting wholesale to regional and local bargaining in the public sector.

"The national pay review bodies have been an effective way of keeping a tight control of costs while allowing for regional and local variation consistent with the need to recruit, retain and motivate staff in every part of the UK. 

"George Osborne has been very clear that he wants to move to localised pay bargaining - despite the evidence that it will prove costly to the public purse and exacerbate regional inequalities.”