Labour will challenge the Government on public sector pay on Wednesday, after ministers confirmed police and prison officers will no longer be subject to the 1% pay cap.

On Tuesday, Downing Street revealed that prison officers will get an average 1.7% pay rise and police officers will receive additional pay totalling 2% for 2017/18.

Number 10 also said that ministers are ready to show flexibility in the public sector pay round for the years 2018/19.

Asked whether the introduction of flexibility in pay settlements meant that the cap was over, the spokesman said: The answer is yes.

The move came amid pressure from unions and Labour to scrap the policy, first introduced seven years ago. But unions were not impressed with the Government’s effort.

The GMB union said more pay for police and prison officers is smoke and mirror politics that insults public sector workers.

Frances O’Grady, general secretary of the TUC, told Sky News the announcement amounted to an insult and pointed out the rise was still below the inflation rate of 2.9%.

They need to offer a real pay rise across the (public) sector, no cherry picking, she said.

Steve White, chairman of the Police Federation of England and Wales, said the announcement was a step in the right direction but did not go far enough.

The Federation had asked for a 2.8% uplift to basic pay.

Police officers do not join the service to make huge amounts of money, they do it out of a sense of duty and this year in particular have been tested to the max, Mr White said.

However, they expect to be paid suitably for the immensely demanding role they perform and this simply is not the case.

Chief Secretary to the Treasury Elizabeth Truss said: Our talented and hardworking public-sector workers deserve to have fulfilling jobs that are fairly rewarded and I am pleased to confirm the pay awards for police and prison officers for 2017/18.

The Government takes a balanced approach to public spending, dealing with our debts to keep our economy strong, while also making sure we invest in our public services.

Liberal Democrat leader Sir Vince Cable welcomed the move, saying: It is good to see the Government finally recognise that the public sector pay cap is no longer sustainable.

The cap must now be lifted across the board so all public sector workers are given the pay rise they deserve.

(c) Sky News 2017: Labour to challenge Govt on public sector pay