14 March 2022
Police officers – subject to a brutal Government pay freeze since 2020 – have reacted with a mixture of astonishment and anger to the news that MPs are being granted a 2.7% pay rise.
All MPs will get a £2,212 pay hike on 1 April, seeing an MP's basic salary go up to £84,144 a year.
Over the past 10 years due to ‘austerity’ based pay freezes and subsequent below inflation pay rises, police officer pay has fallen in real terms by 20% behind the cost of living.
Unlike nurses and firefighters, police officers were given no pay rise in 2021 with the public cost of the Covid-19 pandemic blamed by the Treasury.
Now household bills are rising sharply and National Insurance is going up in April – the same week MPs will receive their rise.
Officers have reacted to the news with fury – especially as the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, which sets MP salaries, said the politicians should be paid fairly for the responsibilities they carried, which ‘dramatically increased’ during the pandemic.
Steve James, Chair of Gloucestershire Police Federation, said: “MPs accepting the £2,200 pay rise recommended by their independent pay review body will be seen as a breathtaking piece of hypocrisy by police officers.
“Government has not only consistently denied officers the right to fair and independent pay reviews but have brutally reduced real-terms pay by 20% over the last decade.
“Between 2010 and 2022 MPs basic salary will have risen from £65,000 to £84,000 – a real terms pay rise of over £4,000 in that period. At the same time a constable at the top of their pay scale has taken a real-terms pay cut of £8,000! In the same period the starting salary of a police constable has dropped from £23,000 to £21,000.
“Whilst officers, and the wider public, will undoubtedly be outraged by this tone-deaf self indulgence on behalf of MPs, it is important to focus on the effect this has had on policing. Officers have operated under a decade of austerity now. A decade that has seen the policing mission expand in all directions to fill the chasms left by widespread under investment across other public services, especially youth, family and mental health services.
“At the same time officers have seen their, training, equipment, CPD, estate and all the other tools they need to do their job, reduced, stopped or sold off.
“As Federation Chair I often see officers in, or at risk off serious financial hardship. When officers cannot make ends meet, living payday to payday, and in some cases relying on payday loans and foodbanks, then enough must surely be enough.”
In May 2021 the Police Federation withdrew from the Police Remuneration Review Body (PRRB) after recommendations from the body were once again disregarded by the Government, seeing officers with no uplift in pay despite the efforts and challenges faced during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Steve added: “The Home Secretary has stated that officers cannot receive more than a 2% pay rise this year as anything else is unaffordable. This is simply not true and offices and the public should not believe otherwise. That Is not how public finances work. This is purely and simply a political choice.
“A Government that can choose to write off billions in fraudulent Covid loans can choose to increase police pay. That they are wilfully choosing not to is a choice, a choice that shows how little the police and public safety are truly valued by this Government.
“There are three things Government must do to address police pay
“Anything less than this will only continue to show how little policing is truly valued, and how PFEW are right to continue to have no confidence in the Home Secretary.”