According to the Financial Times (19 June), the coalition is rowing back on its plans for "regionalising" public sector pay.
The FT quotes a Downing Street official as saying that there will be "no change" unless there is "strong evidence" and "a rational case for proceeding" with a particular move.
The newspaper also quotes a "senior Liberal Democrat" as saying that new regional pay schemes are "more unlikely than likely".
As the FT reports, in a period of general public-sector pay freeze, "officials have struggled to find a way to create a regional pay differential without cutting or freezing [nominal] wages in poorer areas for years on end", which would "antagonise voters".
Unions should not, however, be complacent. Unlikely is not impossible. The Government may go for regional pay schemes with only tiny differentials at first, with a view to widening them later.
And the threat of localising pay (as FE lecturers' pay is localised, for example, with many local variations from the notional nationally-negotiated rates) remains serious.