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UNIONS have reacted with fury to a leaked Treasury document which suggests a two-year pay freeze for public-sector workers to help offset the cost of the coronavirus pandemic.
The document, dated May 5, says the outbreak could leave Britain with a deficit of at least £337 billion – and possibly £516 billion – this year, compared to the £55 billion forecast in Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s March budget.
It said measures could also include ending guaranteed increases in state pensions.
Fire Brigades Union general secretary Matt Wrack said: “Far from discussing pay cuts, the government should instead be considering how best it can reward those who have got us through this pandemic.
“We will fight any attempt to make those who see us through the coronavirus crisis pay for it with another real-terms pay cut.”
Unite assistant general secretary Gail Cartmail said: “Public-sector workers are on the frontline saving lives, keeping people safe and maintaining the economy.
“To suggest that their hard work, endeavour and sacrifice should be rewarded with a freeze in their pay is simply insulting.”
England and Wales Police Federation chairman John Apter said: “To even consider freezing the pay of our essential public-sector workers to help the financial recovery would be morally bankrupt and would be a deep and damaging betrayal.”
Labour shadow chancellor Anneliese Dodds said: “Both the Chancellor and the Prime Minister must urgently make a statement rejecting these plans.”
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said he “did not recognise” the figures.
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