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Surrey Police Federation

Federation Chair: Freezing the pay of public sector workers is a betrayal of their hard work

20 November 2020

Freezing the pay of millions of public sector workers – including police officers - would be a betrayal of their hard work in the effort to combat Covid-19, the Chair of Surrey Police Federation has said.

It has been widely reported today that the Government is considering announcing a public sector pay freeze in next week’s Spending Review to cover the UK’s deficit in the wake of the coronavirus lockdown.

Mel Warnes, Chair of Surrey Police Federation, said: “To freeze the pay of police officers to pay for the pandemic would be a betrayal to the police service. The police have had a very difficult time in policing the ever-changing guidance on top of the high demand of the normal day job.

“To betray those who have been celebrated for their work throughout the pandemic is immoral.”

She added: “Officers have sacrificed time with their families, living away from them in order to protect the vulnerable and continue policing in the height of the pandemic.

“To repay the hard work and sacrifice with a pay freeze when they are already seeing an 18% real terms pay cut in the last 10 years is a disgrace.”

During the last recession, from 2011, public sector workers were subjected to a pay freeze and then a pay cap for a number of years.

This resulted in an 18% real-terms pay cut for hard working police officers.

Police Federation of England and Wales National Chairman John Apter said today: “During the pandemic, the Government has thanked and celebrated members of the public sector; to freeze their pay and penalise these same workers would be morally bankrupt, unforgivable and a betrayal.”

“Yes we’re in tough times, but this would be extremely damaging for those very key workers the Government has applauded over the past several months.

“After [nearly] a decade of public sector pay freezes/caps, this would be an unforgivable decision if it were to happen, the Government must stop and think before doing this.”

When questioned, the Treasury declined to comment on the reports but pointed to language used by Rishi Sunak in a letter about the Spending Review in July.

The letter outlined that in the "interest of fairness we must exercise restraint in future public sector pay awards, ensuring that across this year and the spending review period, public sector pay levels retain parity with the private sector".

It has been reported that nurses and doctors will be exempt from the future pay freeze.

In 2020, police officers received a 2.5% pay rise.