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UK offers below-inflation pay rises for public-sector workers

We all know by now that the annual inflation rate in the UK increased to 9.4% in June, which is the highest rate since 1982. But did you know it is expected to rise to 11% or 12% in October?

Because of this, the cost-of-living crisis deepens every month, which is putting significant pressure on the UK’s consumer-led economy.

Find out below the pay rises the government has announced for millions of public sector workers, as inflation eats into salaries and the buying power of workers' take-home pay is shrinking.



Pay rises at-a-glance


NHS Staff

The government has accepted this week the recommendations from the independent NHS pay review bodies in full.

This means that more than a million NHS staff in England - including nurses, paramedics and midwives - will get a pay rise of at least £1,400, with the lowest earners to receive up to 9.3%. This is on top of the 3% pay rise they received last year.

Moreover, eligible dentists and doctors will receive a 4.5% pay rise.


Police, Prison Staff and Judicial Office Holders

In England and Wales, Police officers will receive a £1,900 salary uplift, equivalent to a 5% overall pay award.

For new recruits, the increase is worth 8.8%, which ministers hope it's enough to attract the 8,000 extra officers needed. On the other hand, the award is only worth between 0.6% and 1.8% for some more senior staff.

In a statement, the Police Federation of England and Wales said that the increase was ‘not good news for all officers, as this pay rise is ‘still below inflation.

As for the prison staff, they are to receive a base pay increase of at least 4%. As it happens with the Police, new recruits will get more (around £2,500 extra), since there is a plan to recruit an additional 5,000 prison officers in the next two years.

Ultimately, the government has also agreed to increase the pay of judicial office holders by 3%, as the court system is under huge pressure at the moment.



Teachers will also benefit from pay increases from September, as the government has announced. Thus, starting salaries will increase by 8.9% next year, but experienced teachers get a below-inflation rise (around 5%).

At the same time, this also means that the government is making significant progress towards meeting its commitment for the new teachers' pay to rise to £30,000. From September, a new teacher will receive over £2,000 more than this year.

Sharon Graham, Unite Union General Secretary, called these pay rise announcements "a kick in the teeth".


Royal Mail Workers


Royal Mail had offered a pay rise of 5.5% for the Communication Workers Union (CWU) workers, which is the biggest increase in years. But as inflation is forecast to increase even more this year, the Union said postal workers "will not budge" until they receive a "dignified, proper pay rise".

Consequently, more than 115,000 Royal Mail workers have voted to go on strike in a dispute over pay.


Armed Forces


Armed Forces personnel are also set to receive a pay rise. The base pay for armed forces staff will increase by 3.75%, while all senior military will get a 3.5% rise. 

In addition to the package, the Ministry of Defence has frozen the daily food charge for personnel and will be limiting the increase in accommodation charges to 1%.



While recruitment and retention problems are now considered severe across the public sector, the government recognized that these pay awards wouldn't keep pace with rising prices, stating, although, that these are the highest public sector pay rises in nearly 20 years.

With the Bank of England predicting that inflation could reach more than 11% later this year, setting public sector pay now was one of the big outstanding decisions facing Prime Minister Boris Johnson before he is due to leave office on September 5, when Britain's new Prime Minister is going to be revealed.



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Published by Elisa Ribeiro Soares
Elisa Ribeiro Soares