As Britain's billionaire count rises, our public servants are being forced into poverty

Author
Published date
15 Feb 2018
New analysis released today shows that 18,000 children in the North East with a parent working in the public sector are now living in poverty.

That’s a 37% rise, with some 4,000 more children falling into poverty since 2010.

So why is this happening? It’s simple. While the government has been handing out tax giveaways to large corporations, it has simultaneously been starving our public services of the funding they need. It has capped public sector pay rises year upon year and our public sector workers are facing the cost.

We all know the price of everything is going up, food, utilities, petrol, even a cinema ticket.  If we suppress wages while prices rise, it means pure and simple that people – and in this case children – will fall into poverty.

And when public servants are falling into poverty, we have a big problem.  These are our firefighters, our police call centre staff, our teaching support teams, our NHS workers.  They are the backbone of our country and if we can’t value them and give them the pay they deserve, then we really have to question who this country is working for?

The current government will say they don’t have the money, but we at the TUC argue that austerity and this devastating squeeze on our public services is a political choice. We have a government that is saying they won’t go near the salaries at the top, but seem happy to see wages fall for the rest of us. 

In the same period that has seen rising poverty among our public servants, this country has made more billionaires than ever before. Taxation could favour the many and not the few but it doesn’t, our middle and lower income earners could be prioritised over those already earning millions but they aren’t.

And this government could finally wake up to the fact that all these cuts are not even working and are not kick-starting our economy the way they promised they would.

Our public sector workers deserve a pay rise and this week, as part of HeartUnions week, we are asking Philip Hammond to show public sector workers some love and give them the payrise they deserve.