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.”
- At the Spending Review on 25 November 2020, Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a “pause” to pay rises in the public sector for all those earning above the median wage of £24,000, excepting “nurses, doctors and other workers in the NHS”. He claimed that the 2.1 million public sector workers earning below that amount would be guaranteed a pay rise of “at least £250”.
Hansard, 25 November 2020, Col. 828, https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2020-11-25/debates/6437F778-628F-48A1-ADF3-C06BA1C09EBA/SpendingReview2020AndOBRForecast#
- Following that statement, the Labour Member of Parliament for Pontefract and Castleford Yvette Cooper asked the Chancellor to “guarantee that the 2.1 million public sector workers he referred to will not face a real-terms pay cut next year”. The Chancellor replied:
“It will depend on each worker’s exact salary, but there will be a fixed increase of £250 for all of those 2 million workers.”
Hansard, 25 November 2020, Col. 857, https://hansard.parliament.uk/Commons/2020-11-25/debates/6437F778-628F-48A1-ADF3-C06BA1C09EBA/SpendingReview2020AndOBRForecast#
- When CPI inflation at 1.4% in 2021-22 is taken into account, a fixed increase of £250 means that every public sector worker in England earning over £17,857 will actually receive a real-terms pay cut.
- In a response to a written parliamentary question, Chief Secretary to the Treasury Steve Barclay confirmed that those earning less than £18,000 on a full-time equivalent basis will receive a pay award above inflation: https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-questions/detail/2020-12-03/124792
- The lowest point on the Police officer pay scale is £18,912, applying to Police Constables appointed after 1st April 2013. All police officers will be hit by either a pay freeze or a below-inflation pay rise. This will affect 125,000 police officers in England.
- Police Federation – Constable pay scales: https://www.polfed.org/information-resources/pay/constable-pay-scales/
- Police Workforce – England & Wales: 31 March 2020 second edition: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/police-workforce-england-and-wales-31-march-2020
- The lowest teacher pay point is for unqualified teachers, with a minimum of £18,169. Therefore all 501,000 teachers in state-funded schools are expected to experience a freeze or below-inflation pay rise. Note that this only directly applies to Local Authority Maintained Schools, although in practice other state-funded schools such as academies are expected to follow national pay policy.
- DfE – School teachers’ pay and conditions document 2020 and guidance on school teachers’ pay and conditions: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/920904/2020_STPCD_FINAL_230920.pdf
- DfE – School Workforce in England table tool – Headcount of all teachers – Total state-funded schools: https://explore-education-statistics.service.gov.uk/data-tables/permalink/8f05674e-0226-49e6-b918-fba7e99e5d5f
- 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: https://www.instituteforgovernment.org.uk/explainers/civil-service-pay#references
- Civil Service Statistics: 2020: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/civil-service-statistics-2020 (table 16 and 26)
- The only Armed Forces ranks paid less than £18,000 are the very bottom point on the Officer OF-0 – £15,864, and new entrant rates of pay (paid £14,659) and Medical and Dental Cadets (£17,133). It is not possible using data on the location of armed forces personnel by region to remove these groups. A total of 125,000 armed forces personnel are based in England.
- Armed Forces’ Pay Review Body – Forty-Ninth Report: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/921745/CCS207_CCS0520587976-007_00_AFPRB_2020_Aug_Amend_E-Laying.pdf
- MoD – Location of UK regular service and civilian personnel annual statistics: 2020: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/location-of-uk-regular-service-and-civilian-personnel-annual-statistics-2020
- MoD – Quarterly service personnel statistics 1 July 2020: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/quarterly-service-personnel-statistics-2020/quarterly-service-personnel-statistics-1-july-2020#full-time-trained-and-trade-trained-strength-army