The government’s one per cent pay rise for more than a million public sector workers is an insult.
Recently in Parliament, I asked David Cameron how the wage squeeze imposed on most workers squares with the big bonuses enjoyed by the bankers and the fat cats in the City. And his reply? All I got was waffle.
The truth is that the fat cats are still getting fatter, while for more than five years the majority have put up with pay freezes or the latest derisory increase.
Hard-working and dedicated employees in the public sector are the whipping boys for the government’s austerity agenda.
Since 2010, NHS nurses, librarians, refuse collectors and those working in social care are just some of those who have seen their pay eroded by thousands of pounds in real terms, while government policy has heavily favoured the City and the well-off.
Many public sector staff are enduring levels of poverty pay, while tax-breaks and sweetheart deals for tax-avoiding multi-nationals are the norm.
NHS staff are leaving the health service for better pay in the private sector or abroad, and as a consequence, billions of pounds are being spent on agency staff to plug the gaps. This is no way to run the NHS.
Public services, the bedrock of local communities, have been under systematic attack by funding cuts. This is no way to run a country.