Millions of public sector workers dealt cruel pay freeze – but NHS will be exempt

Mr Sunak was not hesitant to turn on the cash elsewhere with billions of public money going into private hands in a Covid cash bonanza

Mr Sunak was not so hesitant to turn on the cash elsewhere with billions in public money going into private hands in a Covid cash bonanza unfortunately when it comes to the people there is none to spare.

It seems wearing mask still has its old fashioned uses.

Public sector workers bore the brunt of austerity cuts after the global financial crash, and unions have warned this is heaping punishment on those who worked to keep the country going during the pandemic.

Speaking during his autumn Spending Review, the Chancellor said that frontline NHS workers would see their wages increased in 2021. 

But he said other public sector workers — such as police, teachers, armed forces and civil servants — would not see their pay increased.

He told the Commons: “Our health emergency is not yet over. And our economic emergency has only just begun.”

Those earning less than the median wage of £24,000 would be guaranteed a pay rise of at least £250, however, meaning at least 2.1m workers would still get a pay rise.

The move was taken to “ensure fairness between the private and public sectors”, he added, claiming he could not “ justify a significant, across-the-board pay increase for all public sector workers” at such a “difficult” time for workers in the private sector. 

Unions have previously condemned such a move, with TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady describing the policy as “morally obscene” earlier this week.

Responding to the statement, shadow chancellor Anneieise Dodds described the pay freeze as a “sledgehammer to consumer confidence” and accused the government of “waste and mismanagement during the pandemic”.

She said public sector workers are “now being forced to tighten their belts” while the pandemic has been a “bonanza for those who have won contracts with political connections”.

“The Chancellor says the economic emergency has only just begun. Try telling that to people who have been out of work since March,” Ms Dodds continued. 

Mr Sunak’s announcement followed a grim economic forecast from the Office of Budget Responsibility (OBR), which said the UK economy was set to contract by 11.3% in 2020 — the worst fall in output in 300 years.

The Real Welfare Problem: Government Giveaways to the Corporate 1%

Sunak’s ‘divide and rule’ on public sector pay ‘a body blow’, says Unite

Unite assistant general secretary Gail Cartmail said: “The chancellor Rishi Sunak has delivered a body blow to the public sector workers he has targeted to bear the brunt of the costs of the pandemic with a pay freeze – his so-called ‘pause’.

“It is doubly disappointing that the chancellor has adopted ‘divide and rule’ tactics over public sector pay with an award for NHS staff, but a freeze on pay for millions of others, such as teaching assistants, who are already low paid.

“The sop of £250 to the two million public sector workers earning under £24,000-a-year is insulting and compares badly with the inflated sums that the government has wasted on PPE contracts for those with links to the Tory establishment.

“This mainly female workforce already juggle work commitments, childcare responsibilities and care for elderly relatives yet kept vital services running throughout the pandemic, at times due to government failures in PPE provision, risking their own health in the service of others.

“It is also a blow to local economies and high streets where public sector workers spend a large proportion of their wages.

“The prime minister’s ‘levelling up’ agenda is in tatters as a result of the chancellor’s divisive pay announcement which does nothing to restore the ‘lost’ pay in real terms from a decade of austerity.”

Rishi Sunak confirmed that millions of public sector workers will be hit with a cruel pay freeze.

Updating the country on the bleak outlook for the British economy, the Tory Chancellor attempted to play divide and rule with the frontline workers who kept Britain safe through the pandemic.

He confirmed that while nurses, doctors and others in the NHS will get a pay rise, other public sector workers will not – unless their pay is under £24,000.

A grim-faced Mr Sunak told the Commons: “Our health emergency is not over and our economic emergency has only just begun.”

He also slashed Britain’s support to the world’s most desperate – cutting foreign aid as the virus continues to destabilise the globe.

Mr Sunak said that the OBR had predicted that the economy will contract by 11.3% this year – “the largest fall in output for 300 years”.

It comes as –

  • Coronavirus inflicts worst blow to economy in 300 years with GDP down 11.3%
  • 2.6 million people forecast to be unemployed by end of 2021
  • Millions of minimum wage workers to get just 19p pay rise next April
  • Nurses, doctors and others in the NHS will get a pay rise
  • Pay rises in the rest of the public sector will be paused next year
  • State pensions increase by minimum amount 
  • UK cuts its foreign aid spending to 0.5 per cent of GDP

And they warned it would be the “4th quarter of 2022” until the economy recovers to pre-virus levels.

Unemployment is expected to peak next year at 7.7% – or 2.6million people.

He warned of long-term scarring that would follow with predictions showing that “in 2025 the economy will be around 3% smaller than expected in the March budget”.

He confirmed the Government would set aside £55billion for the next year to combat coronavirus.

And the Chancellor realised the worst fears of almost 4million workers by confirming their pay will be frozen.

Labour’s Anneliese Dodds said the move took a “sledgehammer to economic confidence”.

Nurses, doctors and others in the NHS, will get a pay rise.

Pay rises in the rest of the public sector will be paused next year.

The plan includes teachers, Armed Forces, police, Whitehall civil servants, council and government agency staff.

But Mr Sunak insisted that the lowest paid public – those earning below £24,000 would see their pay increased by at least £250.

The UK has 5.5million public sector workers, of which just under 1.8million work in the NHS.

Mr Sunak said 2.1million public sector workers earn less than £24,000, which suggests up to 2million remaining will get a pay freeze in April.

Ex Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn suggested civil servants should receive a 10% pay increase.

There is clear evidence of factional activity by senior paid employees of the party against the elected leadership of the time” as well as “apparent sabotage

The Independent MP praised the efforts of public-sector workers during the Covid-19 pandemic, telling the Commons: “Civil servants have lost 19% in wages over the past 10 years due to austerity.

“There is a 12% gender pay gap that affects civil servants.

He said: “Instead of saying to them that as thanks for all their work they’re going to get a maximum of £5 a week for the lowest paid, instead return to proper national pay bargaining for all civil servants so those people who deliver for us are seen to be treated properly and fairly as we come out of the coronavirus crisis?”

Public sector workers bore the brunt of austerity cuts after the global financial crash, and unions have warned this is heaping punishment on those who worked to keep the country going during the pandemic.

And NHS unions were quick to point out that Mr Sunak confirmed he wouldn’t freeze their wages but didn’t talk about pay increases.

Donna Kinnair, General Secretary of the Royal College of Nursing said: “The Chancellor addressed a pay rise for nursing but did not deliver one today. He had the opportunity to recognise and reward the expertise and dedication of UK nursing staff today and respond to calls for an early and significant pay rise.

“The level of pay rise that government agrees must reflect the true skills and value of nursing. For now, they continue to be worse off than 10 years ago.”

Mr Sunak was not hesitant to turn on the cash elsewhere – with departmental funding set to increase.

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