Hundreds of thousands of public sector workers in line for pay rise
Around 900,000 public sector workers will receive an above-inflation pay rise, chancellor Rishi Sunak has said.
The chancellor said that their “vital contribution” during the fight against Covid-19 had not gone unnoticed, with the money to finance the pay rise coming from existing departmental budgets.
The Treasury indicated that the pay rises would be up to 3.1 per cent, but nurses will be excluded since they are already tied into a three-year deal that was agreed back in 2018.
Sunak said: "These past months have underlined what we always knew; that our public sector workers make a vital contribution to our country and that we can rely on them when we need them.
"It's right, therefore, that we follow the recommendations of the independent pay bodies with this set of real-terms pay rises."
But the Labour Party has said that the rises will not cushion the impact of years of cuts.
Among the hikes, teachers based in England, along with dentists and doctors across the UK, will see their pay go up by 3.1 per cent and 2.8 per cent, respectively.
Police, prison officers and National Crime Agency staff in England and Wales will receive a 2.5 per cent pay increase, while armed forces personnel will receive an additional two per cent in pay. Judiciary members and senior civil servants will also see a pay rise of two per cent.
Shadow chancellor Anneliese Dodds highlighted that the Conservatives had frozen public sector pay for seven years while in government, and the increases would not be enough to make up for the shortfalls of “a decade of real-term pay cuts”.
Dodds said: "Many other public sector workers - including those working on the front line in social care - won't get a pay rise out of this at all because the Tories haven't made good on their promises to boost local authority funding.
"That's not fair - and it's no way to reward those who've been at the forefront of fighting this pandemic."
Dr David Wrigley, vice-chairman of the British Medical Association, said that the proposals would leave doctors “disappointed and let-down” having been “hoping for far better”.
He told the BBC: "These are the sort of rises we'd expect to see in normal times, not in a time when many of us have not had a day off in six months and have been putting our lives on the line."
Crime and policing minister Kit Malthouse told BBC Radio Four that the government’s ability to increase pay rates in the social care sector was “limited” since a great many staff in the industry are privately employed.
He added that the government’s hope was that its raising of the national minimum wage would be reflected in pay for private sector roles.
The government has said that it had accepted all the pay rise suggestions for 2020/21 made by independent pay review bodies, and that pay rises for armed forces personnel, prison officers, senior civil servants and NHS staff will be backdated to April.
The pay increase for police and teachers will be triggered in September in line with their respective pay schedules.