Election 2015 Wales

Election 2015: Lib Dem Alexander 'stopped regional pay twice'

Liberal Democrat Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander
Image caption Danny Alexander is calling regional pay 'nonsense', but the Conservatives say he was keen to bring it in

A leading Lib Dem minister has said he blocked plans his party says would have "slashed" Welsh workers' pay last year.

Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander said the Conservatives wanted to vary public sector pay around the UK, despite dropping the idea in 2012.

At the time, a letter emerged in which Mr Alexander told First Minister Carwyn Jones he wanted regional pay.

The Conservatives have accused the Lib Dems of hypocrisy, calling Mr Alexander regional pay's "foremost champion".

The letter to Mr Jones said Mr Alexander was "keen to see local, market-facing pay introduced across the UK".

'Wages slashed'

But on Thursday, Mr Alexander said: "We stopped the Tories in 2012 and hoped that would be the end of this nonsense.

"When the Tories asked Treasury officials to publish a report backing regional pay in 2014 we were forced to block it again. And if Liberal Democrats are returned to government, we will block it again."

Last week, Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg claimed regional pay would have removed more than £1bn from the Welsh economy.

Welsh Liberal Democrat candidate Roger Williams added: "Let us be clear about this - the Tories wanted to pay people less just because they work in Wales.

"Without the Liberal Democrats in government, the Tories would have taken over a billion pounds out of the Welsh economy, with public sector workers having their wages slashed."

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