Government announces pay rises for public sector staff

Chancellor Rishi Sunak will announce that public sector workers, including doctors, teachers and police officers, will see above inflation pay rises this year.

Announced to reflect the vital contributions public sector workers make to our country, especially during the coronavirus pandemic, the move will see nearly 900,000 workers benefit from higher pay. Teachers and doctors will see the largest rise at 3.1 per cent and 2.8 per cent respectively.

Dr David Wrigley, vice-chairman of the British Medical Association, said doctors would feel ‘disappointed and let down’ by the announcement as pay 'has fallen way behind' where it should be and ‘we were hoping for far better’ than the 2.8 per cent increase.

Furthermore, police and prison officers will both have a 2.5 per cent rise win pay, with the Armed Forces receiving a two per cent uplift.

The money for the salary increases will come from existing departmental budgets, and, whilst widely welcomed, many have said that the increases do not make up for years of real-terms cuts.

Shadow Chancellor Anneliese Dodds said the Conservatives had frozen public sector pay for seven years, and the rises they introduced after that failed to plug the gap. She also highlighted how social care workers, key in the fight against coronavirus, are not included in the pay increases.

The pay rise follows the settlement for more than one million NHS workers who continue to benefit from the three-year Agenda for Change pay deal, under which the starting pay for a newly qualified nurse has increased by over 12 per cent since 2017/18. This means nurses who are still moving up their pay structures will receive an average 4.4 per cent rise this year.

The pay awards for the armed forces, prison officers, senior civil servants and NHS staff work will be backdated to April this year, whereas the pay rise for police and teachers starts in September which run on a different pay year.

Sunak said: “These past months have underlined what we always knew – that our public sector workers make a vital contribution to our country and that we can rely on them when we need them. It’s right therefore that we follow the recommendations of the independent pay bodies with this set of real-terms pay rises.”