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The hon. Gentleman is absolutely right. He mentioned the civil service pension changes, which complement and add to the pattern of behaviour that I am identifying. It gives me great concern that there is an agenda out there of driving down civil service pay. Suffice it to say that the official Opposition hope that an agreement can be reached with the trade unions. I remind the Minister that trade unions represent many tens of thousands of Government employees. They have a legitimate role in representing their members.
We keep being told that we are coming out of the tunnel after 10 years of depression, that austerity is over, that the Government are being extremely successful in their management of the economy and that sunlight is beaming down through the dark clouds. If that is the case, now is the time to start treating the Government’s own employees more fairly and, in the context of this particular debate, acceding to the requests of the trade unions that represent the Government’s own employees. That means sorting out this dispute—it is, dare I say it, a needless dispute—on the civil service compensation scheme and giving those civil servants a decent pay rise. That decent pay rise will be a percentage of a much smaller amount than it would have been, because their pay has been depressed for so long, but I urge the Minister in the meeting on