Jeremy Corbyn has rejected the government's move to end the public sector pay cap as an "attempt at divide and rule".
When it comes to subsequent years, and other sectors, the government's spokesman stressed the need for "flexibility" but said ministers were mindful of the need to address "recruitment and retention" issues, balanced with "pay discipline".
The offer has already been rejected by the Prison Officers Association, which had been seeking a five per cent pay rise, as being effectively a pay cut given the rate of inflation.
Speaking this afternoon at the TUC Congress, the leader of the opposition said: "Today, as inflation rises to nearly three per cent, they try to divide people on the cheap. The POA is right: a pay cut is a pay cut and we must be united in breaking the pay cap for all workers.
So let me be absolutely clear today. The Labour Party totally rejects the Tories' attempt at divide and rule, to play one sector off against another. A Labour government will end the public sector pay cap and give all workers the pay rise they deserve and so desperately need."