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Rishi Sunak preparing for fresh concessions to end public sector strikes

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Rishi Sunak is preparing to make fresh concessions to end months of debilitating public sector strikes, as negotiations with teachers begin.With No 10 now keen to see all the disputes resolved in the coming weeks, talks between teaching unions and the Department for Education started on Friday and are expected to continue through the weekend.But strikes by the University and College Union planned for next week will go ahead after the union’s higher education committee voted to continue with industrial action and declined to put proposals from employers to a vote by members.The health secretary Steve Barclay’s pay offer to NHS unions on Thursday underlined that the government is now prepared to compromise after a months-long standoff in which ministers insisted there was no extra money for the current financial year.NHS staff including nurses, porters and ambulance crews were offered a one-off bonus of up to 8.2% for this year and a pay rise of 5% from April, with more for the lowest paid – a deal that the government hopes will encourage other unions to come to the table.Most NHS unions involved in the dispute are recommending the offer to their members, who will have to approve it in a vote.Questions continued to swirl on Friday about how the NHS increase will be paid for, however, with discussions being held between the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) and the Treasury.DHSC had previously only been funded for a 3.5% rise, and it is unclear where the extra money will come from.

A DHSC source conceded that efficiency savings were likely to be part of the answer.“We do expect efficiencies to be part of that, and that’s fine: Steve would rather money went on paying nurses, rather than being wasted in parts of the

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