• Pay

    Mid Devon Advertiser
    10 August 2018

    We are all indebted to those who work so hard in the public sector. Our teachers, nurses, paramedics, police, armed forces to name a few. Since the crash of 2008 our public finances have been under huge pressure as we have worked to reduce the deficit and put the country back on a sound footing. This has been a significant yet vital challenge with levels of national debt (now at around £27,000 per person) leaving the economy brittle and vulnerable to external shocks such as any sharp downturn in the world trade. We need to control debt if we are to maintain a sound economy and to avoid passing that burden onto future generations. Since 2010 many working in the public sector have faced a 2 year pay freeze followed by caps on wage growth of 1%. The private sector has not been subject to any formal restraint – it is for millions of individual employers to determine pay within their businesses – although for many in the private sector that too has meant years of low wage increases or no increases at all. Over recent years private sector pay has grown relative to that in the public sector although comparing pay growth between the two is a tricky business with many lower paid public sector jobs having been transferred to the private sector over the last few years and so depressing average private sector pay levels – this distorts any analysis of movements in relative pay between these parts of the economy. There are other factors too which make comparisons difficult including the higher level of qualifications amongst those who work in the public sector and the more generous pension arrangements that public sector employees enjoy. The good news is that as the economy has improved and the deficit reduced – by over three quarters since 2010 – so we have been able to find more money for increased public sector pay with our recent announcement that a million public sector workers will receive their biggest pay rise in nearly 10 years. This includes 2.9% extra this year for our armed forces (meaning the average soldier will get an additional £680 in pay with a one-off payment of £300), 2.75% for prison officers and up to 3.5% for our teachers - worth between £800 and £1,366 per year for classroom teachers on the main pay range. Overall, teachers in England and Wales will receive pay rises of between 1.5% and 3.5% and schools will receive a pay grant of £508 million over two years to cover the increases, drawn from existing Department for Education budgets. Police, GPs and dentists will see a 2% rise. If we can keep the economy growing – as it has done for every quarter over the last 5 years then we can look forward to increases in real wages over the years ahead – our teachers, police, health workers and all those who serve us in the public sector deserve this.  More from Mel on Twitter @MelJStride and online at