The five million people delivering our public services, from job centres to hospitals, schools to local councils, have seen six years of pay freezes and pay caps that means many public sector workers will have seen their pay cut by over £2,000 in real terms.
The average public sector wage has been cut in real terms by three per cent between 2010 and 2016 using the government’s preferred CPI measure of inflation, or seven per cent if we use the RPI measure that includes housing costs. However, for many public sector workers this will be significantly higher. And if the current public pay policy continues, most public sector workers will be earning over £1,000 less in real terms by the end of this parliament.
As a result, morale is plummeting and recruitment and retention of workers in many of our most in-demand services is becoming increasingly difficult. Public service staff have worked hard to maintain the quality of services. But it is an uphill struggle and many of those working in those services believe they are suffering as a result.
This short report takes a snap shot of the current situation by listening to the voices of workers employed in our schools, our NHS and our local council and emergency services.
For the sake of those services and those of us who rely on them, we hope that the prime minister and the chancellor listen to these voices and others – the employers, the providers, the independent experts – and take a new look at how we are treating the workers who are the lifeblood of the essential services at the heart of our communities.