Chairman's reaction: Public sector pay freeze lifted
26 October 2021
“Whilst I welcome the end to a pay freeze I also want to see a truly independent body providing officers with a genuine chance of getting fairly paid for the amazing work they do.”
Police officers are set to see their pay rise once again next year after the Government confirmed the public sector pay freeze is being lifted.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak will use his Budget on Wednesday to say police officers, nurses, teachers and members of the armed forces are among those set to benefit.
A "temporary pause" in salary progression was introduced by the Government last November as a response to the pandemic – it saw police officers in England and Wales receive a 0% pay rise in 2021.
In an announcement late on Monday, the Treasury said the chancellor would use his forthcoming Budget to say "the solid economic recovery and encouraging signs in the labour market" mean the "pay pause" can be lifted.
Andy Berry, Chair of Devon and Cornwall Police Federation, said “Police officers are watching the value of their wages erode with ever increasing prices in shops, energy bills and at price hikes at the petrol pumps. This will be soon exacerbated by a rise in National Insurance. So against this backdrop the announcement that the public sector pay freeze will end in April is good news. But Chancellor Rishi Sunak makes this bold statement with no substance behind it. Decisions on pay will be left with the Independent pay review bodies he says, however the Police remuneration review Body (PRRB) isn’t independent as it is tied at both ends by decisions of the Home Secretary. So whilst I welcome the end to a pay freeze I also want to see a truly independent body providing officers with a genuine chance of getting fairly paid for the amazing work they do.
“Everyday officers work unsocial hours, have rest days cancelled, get called in at short notice, miss family celebrations, get assaulted, abused, run towards danger and deal with the often gruesome and tragic realities of the human condition. In my view it seems a very little ask to expect officers to be paid fairly and to not fall further behind those working in other sectors.
“The Police Federation has withdrawn from the PRRB in its current form and are campaigning for an independent and fair pay review body. It is simply letting our members down by engaging in a process which this year even the panel members stated wasn’t truly independent. Police officers willing to forgo many of their employment rights but this has to be with the expectation that they will be treated fairly and there should not have to be a constant battle to stop officer income from eroding.”
In a statement given to the media on Monday night, Mr Sunak said: "The economic impact and uncertainty of the virus meant we had to take the difficult decision to pause public sector pay.
"Along with our plan for jobs, this action helped us protect livelihoods at the height of the pandemic.
"And now, with the economy firmly back on track, it's right that nurses, teachers and all the other public sector workers who played their part during the pandemic see their wages rise."
Ministers will be "running a full pay round and the awards will be announced next year once the Government responds to the pay review bodies' recommendations", the Treasury added.
It was announced last week that all Scottish Police officers will receive a £700 pay rise in 2021, alongside a £250 working the pandemic bonus.