Public sector workers ‘going without a daily meal’ because of Tory pay cap

The survey of 11,000 workers found that 17 per cent couldn't afford to keep their homes warm, whilst 9 per were going without a regular daily meal.

New research shows that public sector workers are being pushed into debt and poverty by seven years of real terms wage cuts.

Staff providing key public services are struggling to meet rising living costs — some having to go without food or heating — and are being pushed into debt, a new report has found.

In the survey of 11,000 employees, including hospital porters, paramedics, teaching assistants and police staff, nearly half of respondents, 43 per cent, described their standard of living as worse than a year ago.

A shocking 17 per cent of workers said they couldn’t afford to keep their homes warm, whilst 9 per cent said they were going without a regular daily meal.

Flatlining salaries no longer seem to be enough to meet even basic living costs, it seems: over a quarter, 26 per cent, of respondents said they had greater levels of debt than they did 12 months ago.

Over three-quarters, 77 per cent, have cut back on food shopping in the last year in order to make their wages stretch further, and ten per cent have missed meals to feed their children.

Commenting on the findings, UNISON general secretary Dave Prentis accused the government of “inflicting untold damage on the lives of hard-working people and their families”. He continued:  

“Nurses, social workers, school meals staff and other public service employees have endured seven long years of wage freezes and caps on their pay.”

“Ministers have been quick to praise the tireless dedication of people including paramedics and nurses, yet insist there’s not enough money in the pot to give everyone a decent pay rise.

If rumours are to be believed, it seems the government may be about to cave in on the 1 per cent pay cap. The findings of this survey can only add pressure to demands that the regressive policy be ditched.

Oscar Webb is a staff writer for Left Foot Forward. He tweets here.

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