27 October 2021

PCS responds to the spending review

Chancellor Rishi Sunak delivered his spending review and budget promising to level up, grow the economy and lift the public sector pay freeze.

However, Mr Sunak who has been trailing the news the freeze would end for the last few days, produced few details, saying it would be "fair and affordable" and that there would be a "return to the normal independent pay setting process."  

Responding to the Spending Review, PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: "For all the talk of lifting the public sector pay freeze, when it comes to the crunch, the Chancellor has shown his promises are merely fake news.

"It is an empty gesture to announce you are ending a pay freeze without providing extra money from the Treasury.

"And with inflation running at 3.1%, with some forecasts predicting 5% by early 2022, any lifting of pay below that level, is akin to real terms cut.

"Civil and other public servants have been living the reality of a pay freeze for over a decade.

"None of today's rhetoric will do anything to alleviate the real economic hardship our members are experiencing every day.

"PCS will now consider all our options including working with other public sector unions on a joint response."

There was also a change to Universal Credit following the controversial and unpopular scrapping of the £20 uplift. 

The Tories claimed Universal Credit claimants will now be able to keep more of the benefit as they earn more with the taper rate cut by 8% “within weeks”, bringing it down from 63% to 55%.

On changes to Universal Credit, Mr Serwotka added: "This partial U-turn on Universal Credit is an attempt to deflect the heavy criticism levelled at the government for punishing the low paid and the vulnerable by scrapping the uplift in the first place.

"The crumbs being thrown at claimants will do little to ease the burden of rising prices and inflation on people who were already in a precarious financial position. 

"Only a complete overhaul of our social security system, which prioritises the welfare of claimants, instead of punishing them, can begin to tackle the deep inequality in our society."