National Federation chair John Apter has called the confirmed pay freeze for all but the lowest paid public sector workers a ‘kick in the teeth for police officers’.
He was reacting to yesterday’s Spending Review announcement in which Chancellor Rishi Sunak also detailed plans for some public sector workers who earn below the median wage of £24,000 to be guaranteed a pay rise of at least £250.
“After years of austerity and a real terms pay cut of 18 per cent, today’s news will be a kick in the teeth for police officers,” said the national chair.
“This year my colleagues have been on the frontline in the battle against COVID-19, protecting the public and putting their own safety and the safety of their families at risk. Despite the warm words and the weekly applause for key workers, it seems to count for nothing.
“We are realists; we know that the country is facing a difficult economic future. But rewarding those who have played a vital role in the fight against the virus with a pay freeze is nothing short of a disgrace.
“A handful of officers will get the additional £250 for the lowest paid workers, but only those who are already on an appallingly low starting salary for the dangerous job they do.”
Speaking on the day of the announcement, John added: “I appreciate the devil will be in the detail, but the headlines from today’s announcement does nothing to show appreciation to police officers and other public sector workers who have kept the wheels turning during 2020.”
Nicky Ryan, secretary of Gwent Police Federation, backed the national chair’s comments and said the pay freeze would be a real blow for members.
“Police officers are fully aware that Covid-19 has caused a financial crisis,” says Nicky, “Many will have already seen their household incomes fall as their partners will not have been immune to the pay cuts endured by those furloughed or made redundant due to the effects of the pandemic.
“But it seems to me to be grossly unfair to expect police officers, and other public sector workers, who have been on the frontline during this crisis, serving and protecting the public while putting their own health at risk, to accept a pay freeze. It will be a real blow for them.”