Public sector pay freeze is 'kick in the teeth and betrayal' for Yorkshire police officers

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A freeze to public sector pay rises has been described as a “kick in the teeth and betrayal” for police officers.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak today said rises in pay for the majority of the public sector would be frozen amid a bleak economic outlook.

Those on less than £24,000 would benefit from a small rise, as would some who work in the NHS.

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But chairman of the West Yorkshire Police Federation Brian Booth said police officers had already faced cuts to their pay packets for the last 10 years.

Brian Booth, chairman of the West Yorkshire Police Federation. Photo: JPI MediaBrian Booth, chairman of the West Yorkshire Police Federation. Photo: JPI Media
Brian Booth, chairman of the West Yorkshire Police Federation. Photo: JPI Media

He said: “This equates to a 18 per cent reduction in pay, sanctioned and administered by this very Government.

“In a time when the police service has stepped up to the plate in the middle of the Covid-19 crisis, dealing with civil unrest and putting themselves at risk of infection trying to support a struggling health service.

“My colleagues deserve better for doing one of the most difficult jobs in difficult times.”

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National chairman of the Federation John Apter called the move “a disgrace” that did nothing to show appreciation for public sector workers who had kept the country going amid the pandemic.

As part of the Spending Review unveiled by Chancellor Rishi Sunak on Wednesday, those earning less than £24,000 will get a rise of at least £250 next year.

But Mr Apter said this would only apply to a small handful of officers who were already on “an appallingly low starting salary”.

He said: “After years of austerity and a real terms pay cut of 18 per cent, today’s news will be a kick in the teeth for police officers.

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“This year my colleagues have been on the frontline in the battle against Covid-19, protecting the public and putting their own safety and the safety of their families at risk. Despite the warm words and the weekly applause for key workers, it seems to count for nothing.

“We are realists; we know that the country is facing a difficult economic future. But rewarding those who have played a vital role in the fight against the virus with a pay freeze is nothing short of a disgrace.

“A handful of officers will get the additional £250 for the lowest paid workers, but only those who are already on an appallingly low starting salary for the dangerous job they do.

“I appreciate the devil will be in the detail, but the headlines from today’s announcement does nothing to show appreciation to police officers and other public sector workers who have kept the wheels turning during 2020.”

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