South Yorkshire Police and Crime Commissioner, Dr Billings has described the public sector pay review, announced yesterday (Tuesday 19 July), as a ‘real-terms cut’.
Home Secretary, Priti Patel, has announced that police officers will receive a salary uplift of £1,900, equivalent to 5% overall pay award from 1 September.
Dr Billings said: “Public sector workers, such as the police, deserve a pay rise.
“The key role they all play was made clear during the pandemic and again this week when the high temperatures led to a major incident being declared in South Yorkshire.
“Police officers keep us safe and fight crime.
“Yet the value of their salaries has fallen significantly over the past ten years.
It is now being eroded even further because the government is failing to control inflation.
“With inflation currently heading towards double figures, even this average pay increase of 5% is a real-terms cut.
“Pay in the private sector has increased more than this during this period and some companies, such as PWC, are increasing pay significantly across the board in order to retain staff.
“But the government’s inability to prevent runaway inflation will produce the worst of all worlds for those of us who have responsibility for police budgets.
“This year’s budget was prepared when inflation was running at 2.5%, though heading upwards.
“I made the prudent assumption that the pay award might be in the region of 3%.
“In so far as it is higher, and if the pay settlement is not fully funded, there will be a gap between income and expenditure that will have to be closed.
“In past years we would have managed this by recruiting slightly fewer officers to balance the books – but the government will not allow that this year.
“It is requiring us to meet the target of 20,000 extra officers – the approximate number it cut between 2010 and 2019 – whatever impact that has on police finances.
“We will be forced to meet the pay increase and balance the books, therefore, either by further savings and cuts or by using reserves – but reserves can only be used once and are no long-term solution.
“Yet just at the moment when inflation is going to have a devastating impact on public services as well as individual households unless brought under control, we have been plunged into a national crisis of government.
“We desperately need a properly functioning prime minister and government.