Rishi Sunak’s public sector pay freeze could cost Tories next election, union warns

Chancellor Rishi Sunak is expected to use his spending review next week to announce the pay freeze (Image: Getty)

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Tory plans to freeze the pay of nearly four million public sector workers could cost them the next election, union bosses warn.

Analysis by GMB shows the vote of public sector staff could overturn majorities in 80% of the seats Tories won from Labour last year.

It calculates they outnumber the Tory majority in 43 of the 54 seats.

Most likely to lose her job is Stoke MP Jo Gideon, whose majority of just 670 is far outweighed by 19,700 public sector employees in the constituency.

Stoke MP Jo Gideon is under pressure
(Image: Stoke Sentinel)

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In 2017 public sector pay freezes contributed to Theresa May losing her majority.

GMB national secretary Rehana Azam said: “The politics of pay austerity has already been rejected by the electorate.

“Public sector workers are underpaid and exhausted, and recruitment and retention problems will inevitably be made worse by a pay freeze.

“If Conservative MPs insist on pushing this cruel and counterproductive measure through then it will not be forgotten at the next election.”

Chancellor Rishi Sunak is expected to use his spending review next week to announce the pay freeze, trying to bolster public finances after a huge rise in spending to fight coronavirus.

He is expected to say it is only fair when many in the private sector face pay cuts or job losses. Frontline NHS staff would probably be excluded but key workers such as teachers, police officers, civil servants and soldiers will not.

Ms Azam said: “A new pay freeze would be an outrageous attack on some of the workers who sacrificed the most during the pandemic.

“Public sector workers’ wages have never recovered from a decade of pay austerity. Eight months ago, Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak promised to put their ‘arms around every single worker’.

“Now they are coming for wages of teaching assistants who earn under £14,000 a year, and find it difficult to make ends meet.”

The Treasury said it would not comment.

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