Sunak shamed as chunk of public sector excluded from wage rises: ‘Why no firefighters?’

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Rishi Sunak confirmed on Wednesday NHS staff will receive a pay raise next year as he thanked doctors and nurses for their hard work throughout the coronavirus pandemic. The Chancellor’s decision however fuelled questions on why other members of the public sector had been excluded from the plans. BBC Breakfast host Charlie Stayt confronted Mr Sunak on the move as he put forward questions from the public, asking the Chancellor why professionals such as bus drivers would not receive a pay rise.

Mr Stayt pointed out public service drivers also put their lives on the line in the early days of the pandemic as they continued to work despite the risks of infection.

The BBC Breakfast host also pointed out teachers as well as firefighters will not be getting a pay rise despite going to work during the health crisis.

The BBC presenter said: “Why don’t they deserve a pay rise? Why not for firefighters?”

Mr Sunak insisted wage disparity was at the root of the decision, suggesting the Government had not wanted to widen the pay gap between public service workers.

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He said the “targeted approach” however will not leave out all public workers and most will see their wages increase from next year.

Mr Sunak had already warned the Government would not be able to “justify a significant, across-the-board” increase in public sector workers pays.

Unveiling his spending review in the Commons on Wednesday, the Chancellor said: “Taking account of the pay review bodies’ advice, we will provide a pay rise to over a million nurses, doctors and others working in the NHS.

“Second, to protect jobs, pay rises in the rest of the public sector will be paused next year. But third, we will protect those on lower incomes.

“The 2.1 million public sector workers who earn below the median wage of £24,000, will be guaranteed a pay rise of at least £250.”

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