New analysis by Labour reveals that Chancellor Rishi Sunak will hit every key worker earning over £18,000 in England with a real-terms pay cut next year.  

This includes over 130,000 key workers in the North West region – the teachers, police officers and Armed Forces personnel on the front line of the battle against Covid-19.  

At the Spending Review on 25 November, the Chancellor announced a ‘pay freeze’ for all public sector workers earning above £24,000 in 2021-22.   

NHS workers weren’t included, while those earning less than £24,000 were promised “a fixed increase of £250”.  

Taking into account inflation over the next fiscal year, that means every non-NHS public sector worker earning over £18,000 will actually get a real-terms pay cut.  

In the North West, this includes: 

  • 17,000 police officers 
  • 66,000 teachers 
  • 45,000 civil servants, including tax inspectors, prison officers and probation officers 
  • 1,840 members of the Armed Forces

That’s a pay cut for every police officer in England, all 501,000 teachers in English state-funded schools and over 90% of the Armed Forces personnel based in England.  

On top of the pay freeze, the Spending Review also contained a one-billion-pound council tax bombshell hidden in the small print and a cut to Universal Credit that will hit those who can least afford it.  

Labour has condemned this triple hammer blow to people’s pockets as totally irresponsible when the economy is so fragile.  

Making people worried about making ends meet will pull spending out of local high streets and small businesses, damaging consumer confidence at the very moment the Government should be building it up.  

West Lancashire MP Rosie Cooper said:
“We clapped and cheered all our front-line key workers during this pandemic but when it comes to genuine appreciation and paying workers a decent wage the Chancellor has decided to freeze their pay.   

“Our teachers, police, armed forces and civil servants including prison officers deserve better than this.”  

Shadow Chancellor Anneliese Dodds said:
“Key workers kept our country going this year, but the Chancellor has rewarded over a million of them with a real-terms pay cut.  

“It’s totally irresponsible to hit workers in their pockets when the economy is so weak, but the least the Chancellor can do is be upfront about it.    

“Instead, he’s trying to pull the wool over the eyes of the police officers, teachers and Armed Forces personnel who’ve kept the country going during this pandemic.  

“They shouldn’t have to carry the can for this Government’s mistakes.”  

Police Officers 


Civil Service 

  • Civil Service pay scales vary by department. However, it is likely that only a relatively small number in Administrative Officer/Administrative Assistant (AO/AA) grades earn less than £18,000 and will therefore receive a pay rise greater than inflation. Data on the median pay of AO/AA staff by region suggests that less than half earn less than £18,000. Including half of them in the regional totals gives an overall figure for England of 308,655. Note that this figure includes Prison Service (see below). 
  • Institute for Government – Civil service pay: 
  • Civil Service Statistics: 2020: (table 16 and 26)

Armed Forces 

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