Thank you for writing to me about public sector pay. I have read your email carefully and noted the key points that you raise.
I am grateful for the commitment and selflessness of public sector workers who have kept people safe and ensured vital services could continue during the coronavirus outbreak. Their work has been exemplary.
That is why I am glad that almost 900,000 public sectors workers received above-inflation pay rises this year. This included a 3.1 per cent pay rise for teachers, a 2.5 per increase for police and prison officers, and a 2 per cent increase for members of the armed forces. Nurses are continuing to benefit from a separate scheme agreed in 2018. The Government ended the across-the-board 1 per cent cap on public sector pay rises in 2017 and for many this is the third successive year of pay rises.
The gap between the wages of those in the private sector and those in the public sector has increased significantly, however, since the start of the pandemic. According to the ONS, in the six months to September, private sector wages decreased by 1 per cent. Public sector employees saw their wages rise by nearly 4 per cent over the same period.
The coronavirus pandemic has meant that many workers in the private sector are losing their jobs, being furloughed and seeing their wages cut. The Chancellor has said therefore that it would be difficult to justify continued pay increases across the whole of the public sector. The Government is instead increasing pay for the majority of public sector workers. This includes over a million nurses, doctors and other NHS staff. Around 2.1 million public sector workers who earn below the average wage of £24,000 will also be guaranteed a pay rise of at least £250.
The National Living Wage and the National Minimum Wage will also increase and likely benefit over 2 million people. A full-time worker on the National Living Wage will have received a pay increase of over £4,000 since the policy was first introduced in 2016.
Thank you again for taking the time to write to me. This awful pandemic has wreaked havoc with our economy, the global economy and our public finances and the UK Government will be faced with some very difficult decisions over the coming months and next few years as an inevitable result of this.
With best wishes.
Jonathan Lord MP
Member of Parliament for Woking