Hitting wages of key workers would be ‘worst possible’ blow to economy

Christina McAnea says taking money from pockets of public sector staff is deplorable

Bank note and coins

Responding to an analysis published by the TUC revealing the economy in England faces a £1.7bn hit from ​government cuts to key workers’ pay, UNISON general secretary Christina McAnea said:

“Taking money from the pockets of ​employees at the heart of the pandemic response is ​nothing short of deplorable. ​It would also deliver the worst possible blow to the Covid-scarred economy.

“The Prime Minister claims he wants to boost the public sector workforce. Yet hitting wages is going to see more staff leaving not joining, especially in care where pay is at poverty levels.

“Job vacancies have proved devastating to the NHS and care sector. ​Without an urgent rethink on pay, the government ​risks losing experienced staff.

“Fair wages for key workers would help protect public services and deliver the required economic boost.”

The analysis shows that Yorkshire & Humberside is one of the three hardest hit regions in England, losing -£163 million. The average loss to each constituency is -£3.0 million. Of the top 30 worst hit parliamentary seats in England, seven are in Yorkshire & Humberside.

UNISON Yorkshire & Humberside regional convenor Wendy Nichols said:

“Public sector workers are always the first to be hit by Tory governments. We have faced real terms cuts for years. In the local government sector that has been over 20% in real terms and yet again the government have announced a pay freeze.

“This is an absolute disgrace when public sector workers have been on the front line during this pandemic working tirelessly for the communities we serve.

“We should be helping local businesses and the wider economy by spending in our communities. Without pay that keeps up with rising household costs we will not be able to do that. The economy will suffer.

“After the dedication key workers have shown this is no way for the government to treat them. It really is an utter disgrace.”


  • The regions suffering the worst proportionate hits to household spending power are: (1) North East, (2) North West, and (3) Yorkshire and The Humber.
  • Of the top 30 worst hit parliamentary seats in England the seven in Yorkshire and The Humber are Leeds Central, Sheffield Central, Kingston upon Hull West and Hessle, Bradford West, Wakefield, Doncaster Central and York Central.