Unions have accused the government of “declaring war” on the public sector after the Chancellor unveiled billions of pounds of cuts and a two-year pay freeze.
In his emergency Budget, Chancellor George Osborne (pictured) also said public services’ current expenditure will be cut by £30bn a year by 2014/15, with extra reductions in departmental spending of £17bn by the same time.
Workers in the sector will not receive a pay rise for two years, unless they are earning below £21,000. In this case, they will receive a £250 pay rise in both years.
Dave Prentis, general secretary of Unison, accused the government of “declaring war” on public services, adding: “This is the most draconian budget in decades.
“Nurses, social workers, midwives, paramedics, police community support officers, housing and environmental officers who provide vital public services, are among those who will be hit hardest by the two year pay freeze, and for local government workers this comes on top of this year’s freeze.”
Jon Skewes, director of employment relations and development at the Royal College of Midwives, said: “Midwives will be deeply concerned about the pay freeze, which is effectively a pay cut. Whilst the flat rise for lower-paid workers is welcome, this will do nothing to bring people into midwifery at a time when we are still many thousands of midwives short.
“Both parties in this coalition government have promised to employ more midwives. This will not help them to achieve it.”
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“I think that the government have done the best they can with a difficult situation. If there is no money available then it cannot be awarded in pay rises. We should should consider ourselves fortunate to have a job at all” – Sarah Price, South East