THOUSANDS of workers in Bolton could see their wages reduced if Government plans to launch regional pay scales are introduced, an MP has warned.

Bolton North East MP David Crausby is calling for a U-turn on proposals that could see the pay of public service workers in the borough frozen or cut.

The Government is drawing up plans to break up national pay scales for the public sector, which would mean workers would be paid less if they work in less affluent areas.

Chancellor George Osborne said it would bring the public sector into line with private sector pay scales.

But campaigners opposing the move claim it would be “unfair” on nurses, teachers, care workers and other public sector workers, as well as hitting businesses and jobs by reducing their spending power and taking money out of the local economy. There are also fears it could lead to a “brain drain”, with health workers and teachers heading for pastures new in search of better pay.

According to Government figures more than 25 per cent of Bolton’s workforce — 32,500 people — is employed by the public sector. Bolton West has the highest percentage with 29 per cent, followed by Bolton North East and South East, both with 25 or cent.

Mr Crausby said: “Public service workers in Bolton, as well as local businesses and all their employees, will be hit hard if these plans go ahead.

“People are already struggling to get by without the Government creating new problems. This plan will penalise workers in those communities that have already been hit hardest by the double- dip recession.

“There is no evidence it would help to rebalance the economy or generate growth, but it could be devastating to our communities.”