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Teachers, doctors and more to get inflation-busting pay rises to recognise ‘vital’ coronavirus work

Teachers are in line for the biggest increases. (PA)

3 min read

Doctors, teachers, police officers and other public sector staff are in line for inflation-busting pay rises to recognise their efforts during the coronavirus crisis.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak said he wanted to reward the “vital contribution” of public sector workers as he confirmed he was pressing ahead with the recommendations made by the Government’s public pay boards in full.

But Labour warned that social care staff could miss out amid continued pressure on council funding, while unions said workers on the public payroll had endured “a decade of real terms cuts“.

The move by the Treasury will see school teachers benefit from the biggest year-on-year payrise of 3.1%, while doctors are dentists will see a 2.8% uplift — well above the rate of inflation at 0.6%.

Police officers, prison officers and those working for the National Crime Agency will benefit from a 2.5% payrise, while armed forces personnel, the judiciary, senior civil servants and the senior military will see a 2%  rise.

The Treasury said awards for those whose pay year begins in April — including NHS staff and the armed forces — would be backdated.

But they warned: “The Coronavirus is having a very significant impact on the economy, labour market and the fiscal position, and the Government will need to continue to take this into account in agreeing future public sector pay awards.“

The rises do not cover civil servants in the lower grades of the organisation, whose departments are separately able to make pay awards of between 1.5% and 2.5%.

Meanwhile NHS workers are on a separate ‘Agenda for Change’ pay system, with the Treasury saying nurses are already in line for an average 4.4% rise this year.

Mr 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."

But Labour’s Shadow Chancellor Anneliese Dodds said: "The Conservatives froze public sector pay for seven long years, and the rises they introduced after that failed to plug the gap.

"A pay rise for our police, nurses and teachers now is good news, but for many frontline workers it still won't make up for a decade of real terms pay cuts.

"And many other public sector workers - including those working on the front line in social care - won't get a pay rise out of this at all because the Tories haven't made good on their promises to boost local authority funding.

"That's not fair - and it's no way to reward those who've been at the forefront of fighting this pandemic."

And Frances O’Grady, the general secretary of trade union group the TUC said: "These rises are welcome, but there's still a long way to go to restore pay after a decade of real terms cuts.

"Many public sector workers - like job centre staff and local government workers - aren't getting these rises. They deserve a decent pay settlement too.

"And the government should urgently announce a pay rise for social care workers, who put their lives on the line to care for others during this pandemic."

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