Shameless David Cameron has claimed MPs calling for struggling nurses to get a decent pay rise are “selfish”.
The millionaire Tory, who oversaw seven years of cruel austerity as Prime Minister, claimed it was “uncaring” to want to lift the cap on public sector pay.
Mr Cameron, who now rakes in vast sums of cash from public speaking and recently blew £25,000 on a luxury garden shed, was speaking at a leadership conference in South Korea amid a bitter Tory row about ending austerity.
“The opponents of so called austerity couch their arguments in a way that make them sound generous and compassionate,” he told the Asia Leadership Conference
“They seek to paint the supporters of sound finances as selfish, or uncaring. The exact reverse is true.
“Giving up on sound finances isn’t being generous, it’s being selfish: spending money today that you may need tomorrow.”
Pressure is mounting on Theresa May as the Tory Cabinet descends into war over whether to end the cruel cap on pay for millions.
Public sector workers had their pay frozen completely for two years from 2010 and rises have then been capped at 1% a year since 2012.
Top Tories admitted horror stories of nurses driven to food banks cost them votes and signalled they would “recognise” public anger in this autumn’s Budget.
Yet they have also insisted policy is not changing and cheering Tory MPs voted down a Labour bid to end the cap last week.
Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell said today: “Time and time again the Tories demonstrate they live in a different world from the rest of us.
“Only David Cameron would say that hard working people seeing their living standards fall back and their pay suppressed is good for them. It just further shows how out of touch he was then, and still remains today.
“The austerity measures such as the public sector pay cuts that he brought in, which Theresa May has continued, were meant to divide communities and undermine working people. And it has led to a situation in our country where we have nurses relying on food banks.”
Chancellor Philip Hammond is reportedly trying to block pay rises and Downing Street said nurses, midwives and soldiers won’t have their cap lifted this year.
Theresa May’s official spokesman said pay review bodies – which brand the 1% cap unsustainable – had already confirmed the level for 2017/18 on NHS staff and Armed Forces personnel, and that will not change.
Other public sector workers including teachers could still see their pay rise as pressure mounts from Tory MPs.
Labour MP Wes Streeting said: “What on earth does David Cameron know about the pressures facing families who’ve seen their bills going up, but their wages kept down?
“It’s not selfish of nurses or police officers or firefighters to ask for a pay rise and these comments are a kick in the teeth to people who work a lot harder than David Cameron ever did before he flounced off to the after dinner speaker circuit, leaving the country in a mess.”
Labour MP Anna Turley raged: “Selfish? Selfish to decently pay those who tend our sick, teach our children, risk their lives on fire, keep us safe and keep society functioning?
“The millionaire architect of austerity who tried to balance the books on the backs of the poorest would know all about selfish.”
Trade unions who have seen their workers struggle with years of real terms pay cuts also exploded in fury.
Gail Cartmail, Unite assistant general secretary, said: “David Cameron and his austerity addiction has done enough damage to this country.
“Public sector workers do not want a very rich, failed politician telling them that their calls for a few quid to get by are selfish.”
UNISON general secretary Dave Prentis said: “Anyone who cares about our schools, hospitals and community services expects dedicated employees to be paid a decent wage.
“It’s politicians that insist on holding public sector wages back behind prices who are the selfish ones.
“As struggling staff leave for better paid jobs elsewhere, employers are finding it tough to replace them.
“Services are suffering and we’re all paying the price. The government must give staff a decent pay rise now before any more damage is done.”
Lib Dem leader Tim Farron added: “It’s pretty rich for this multi-millionaire to say that hard-working firefighters, paramedics and soldiers don’t deserve a pay rise in line with inflation as he jet-sets around the world raking in cash for making speeches.”