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20 November 2020
Freezing the pay of millions of public sector workers – including police officers - would be a kick in the teeth for all their hard work in the effort to combat Covid-19, the Chairman of Wiltshire 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.
Mark Andrews, Chairman of Wiltshire Police Federation, said: “Chancellor do not do this, we deserve better, we have given so much. This decision would be a disgrace.”
He added: “I was quick to welcome the investment the Government was making in uplifting our officer numbers. I also recognised the efforts of the Home Secretary who appeared to ‘get’ policing and demonstrated this by her abhorrence to attacks on officers and support of the Police Covenant.
“I mistakenly and naively began to think our efforts and sacrifices were finally being recognised, how wrong was I.
“This proposed pay freeze is a kick in the teeth for every officer who has continued to work through this pandemic. My members are disgusted that again the Government see them as the easy target especially when they are able to find money for hefty pay increases for MP’s.
“Many of our Wiltshire officers are at the low end of their pay scale which means they struggle financially. We are at risk of losing good people as they realise they can get the same or better money working in jobs where they are not punched, kicked and spat at on a weekly basis.
“The Government need to understand if you don’t have police officers on the street managing the Covid restrictions then the NHS will be overwhelmed. We are one team in this.”
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.