Public sector pay freeze deemed ‘insulting’ as Sunak asked to rethink

It would impact those who have already sacrificed so much during the pandemic

Chancellor Rishi Sunak

As rumours grow that Chancellor Rishi Sunak will announce a public sector pay freeze on Wednesday, those against it have called the possible ruling “insulting” given what key workers have done this year.

The coronavirus pandemic has battered the economy, and Sunak has already warned that the public needs to come to terms with the “scale of the economic shock”. But he failed to mention that the weight of this may go on the shoulders of those who have sacrificed so much during the pandemic.

A public sector pay freeze would impact people in professions like teaching, police officers and firefighters, all who have sacrificed a lot and, at times, possibly even risked their lives to do all they can for the country during this pandemic.

As a result a petition has been started to “make sure the Chancellor knows it’s unacceptable to play with the livelihoods of our key workers”.

The petition points out how insulting it is that the government led the clapping for key workers at the start of the pandemic, and now seems to want “this pay freeze announcement brushed under the carpet”.

The petition adds: “The government might think it’s okay to sacrifice the livelihoods of key workers to ‘balance the books’. But this would be a massive insult to the people who’ve worked so hard to keep our country running amidst coronavirus. 

“Every teacher who made sure our children and grandchildren could keep on learning. Every care worker who looked after our loved ones day in, day out. And every firefighter who continues to put their lives at risk for us.”

A number of opposers took to Twitter to share their thoughts on the pay freeze.

Labour MP for Sefton Central, Bill Esterson, tweeted: “Sunak said there would be no return to austerity. A public sector pay freeze after 10 years of pay cuts? If that’s not austerity, what is?”

Keir Starmer tweeted: “The Conservatives are threatening to freeze the pay of 5.5 million workers who have been on the frontline during this pandemic. We stood on our doorsteps clapping our carers and key workers, we must not allow the Conservatives to make them pay for this crisis.”

“A huge petition, signed by thousands of us, will send a clear message to the Chancellor ahead of his announcement this week: a pay freeze is no way to thank public sector heroes for the sacrifices they’ve made during the pandemic,” the petition added.

If you would like to sign the petition or read more, go here.

Lucy Skoulding is a freelance reporter at Left Foot Forward. Follow her on Twitter. 

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