Public sector pay freeze is 'cold, hard, slap in the face', say workers
Those earning less than £24,000 would still get a rise of at least £250 a year, he told Parliament, but added: “I cannot justify an across the board pay increase for all public sector workers.”
Brian Booth, chairman of West Yorkshire Police Federation, said his colleagues “deserved better”.
He said: “This is a kick in the teeth and betrayal for police officers who have already had the cuts to their pay packets over the last 10 years.”
He said police pay had fallen 18 per cent in real terms under the current Government.
Mr Booth added: “In a time when the police service has stepped up to the plate in the middle of the Covid-19 crisis, dealing with civil unrest and putting themselves at risk of infection trying to support a struggling health service.
“My colleagues deserve better for doing one of the most difficult jobs in difficult times.”
Firefighters described the move as a “cruel decision” and an “attack” on frontline emergency responders.
Matt Wrack, Fire Brigades Union general secretary, said: “Ministers were all too happy to call on firefighters early in the pandemic, but after standing outside Downing Street and applauding key workers, the Chancellor with the same hands gave them a cold, hard slap in the face.
“Today, the UK fire and rescue service remains 11,200 firefighters down on a decade ago, and the Chancellor has utterly failed to do anything about it.
“We won’t stand by and let the Government attack key workers like this.
“[Mr Sunak’s] cruel decision today will not stop our campaign for fairer pay and funding.”
Teachers were equally critical of the Chancellor’s announcement, saying he delivered a “body blow” to education staff.
Dr Mary Bousted, joint general secretary of the National Education Union, said: “Education workers are key workers who have kept the country going during the pandemic but pay cuts are their only reward from this Government.”
Mr Sunak’s announcement of an extra £1bn to help local authorities fund social care and address coronavirus pressures next year, was also met with criticism.
The investment, which the Chancellor said would allow councils to increase core spending by 4.5 per cent, was “decidedly reckless” given cuts to local authorities over the last decade.
Caroline Abrahams, director at Age UK and co-chair of the Care and Support Alliance said it was “hard not to conclude we’ve gone backwards”.
She said: “Against the context of the pandemic, which is both driving up the level of need, and weakening the finances of providers, this is a decidedly reckless approach.”
Mike Padgham, a Yorkshire social care provider and chair of the Independent Care Group said: “Of course £1bn is a lot of money, it’s welcome, but nearly £8bn has been cut from council adult social care budgets since 2010, we lost £8bn.”
Health Secretary Matt Hancock had made a big deal about putting social care on an equal footing, he said, but the NHS “always gets more funding”.
“We’ve got to fund social care a lot more equally,” he said. “With staffing, the pay increase for NHS nurses is welcome but there are nurses who work in the private sector as well, so we have to increase their salaries as well.”
A pay rise announced for NHS nurses was not significant, nor soon enough, nurses said.
Dame Donna Kinnair, chief executive of the Royal College of Nursing said: “The level of pay rise that Government agrees must reflect the true skills and value of nursing.
“For now, they continue to be worse off than 10 years ago.
“At a time when many experienced nurses are burnt out, exhausted and considering leaving the career they love, the link between unfair pay, staffing levels and safety becomes even more stark.”
She added that nurses supported a pay rise for other public sector staff working in the community.