Federation reacts to speculation on public sector pay

Freezing the pay of police officers and other public sector workers would be hypocritical, according to the chair of Gwent Police Federation.

Steve Thorpe was responding to speculation that Chancellor Rishi Sunak may announce plans to freeze the pay of more than five million public sector workers in next week’s Spending Review.

He says: “This is purely speculation at the moment but it has nonetheless caused much concern among Federation members and, I am sure, other people working in the public sector. We can all understand that the pandemic has caused an economic crisis but a pay freeze for police officers and public sector workers is not the way forward. It is no way to reward them for their efforts this year.

“The Chancellor must do what’s right next week, a pay freeze would be hypocritical and risks destroying morale when the entire country is counting on public sector works who, let’s face it, have risked their own health, and that of their families, to serve their communities.”

The imminent launch of the Chancellor’s savings drive comes as Government spending soars in response to the coronavirus pandemic with over £40 billion spent on subsidising the wages of nearly 10 million workers through the furlough scheme. This is expected to cost billions more, on top of more than £210 billion spent on emergency response to the pandemic. And borrowing is expected to surge to over £400 billion this year.

John Apter, national chair of the Police Federation of England and Wales, has also warned the Government that the move would be ‘unforgiveable’.

“Given the personal sacrifices made by public sector workers during this pandemic and following years of public sector pay freezes, such a move would be morally bankrupt. My colleagues deserve much more,” he said.

“Ministers have thanked and celebrated key workers in the public sector during the pandemic, even clapping on doorsteps to show their support. To penalise these same workers would be complete hypocrisy.

“I sincerely hope the Chancellor chooses to show his support for police officers and other public sector workers next week and that these early reports are merely speculative.”