PCS mythbuster number 1 – no return to austerity

29 Jan 2021

In the first in a series of myth busting articles as part of the PCS pay campaign we look at the government’s claim that there will be no return to the austerity of a decade ago.

In June, prime minister Boris Johnson pledged his government would "not go back to the austerity of 10 years ago.”

In fact, the pay freeze for more than 2.6 million public sector workers, announced by chancellor Rishi Sunak at November’s spending review, is an act of austerity just months after Johnson’s hollow declaration.

PCS believes civil servants and other public sector staff feel a deep sense of betrayal because of the pay freeze.

Despite keeping the country running during the Covid pandemic, supplying Universal Credit and helping businesses access the furlough scheme, the chancellor has justified a pay freeze by pointing to lower wages in the private sector.

We believe the answer is to raise wages across the board to increase spending power in the economy, to aid our recovery not pit public and private sector workers against one another, like crabs in a barrel.

The pay freeze intensifies long-standing anger at a decade of pay restraint.

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