‘PUBLIC sector workers are at breaking point,’ the GMB union said yesterday after the Office for National Statistics (ONS) reported that inflation has hit three per cent, up from 2.9 per cent – a five-and-a-half year high.
The rise means more than five million public sector workers will see an even bigger real terms wage cut due to the pay cap. On average, each public sector worker has lost £9,000 since 2010 thanks to the cap.
GMB General Secretary Tim Roache said: ‘Ministers are hopelessly out of touch when they talk about the sunny uplands ahead while food prices are soaring and people who work all hours are struggling to pay their bills. It’s shameful that in Britain today ordinary working people can’t make ends meet because wage rises are failing to keep pace with inflation.
‘More than five million public sector workers are now at breaking point as their wages take yet another hammering. If the government is serious about creating an economy that works for everyone then it should get on with doing something about it. A “living wage” that people can’t actually live on is spin with no substance – £10 an hour is the basic minimum working people are due.
‘The government may be divided, but they are a government nonetheless. The Prime Minister must take action on poverty pay and lift the pernicious public sector pay cap that is causing so much misery.’
• Soaring food and transport prices have caused the UK inflation rate to hit its highest level for more than five years in September, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) reported yesterday.
The ONS said the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) has hit 3%, last reached in April 2012, and up from 2.9% in August. The Bank of England is tasked with keeping CPI inflation at 2%, and last month its governor, Mark Carney, indicated interest rates could rise in the ‘relatively near term’ if the economy continued on its current path.
The governor of the Bank of England has to write a letter of explanation to the chancellor if the inflation rate is more than 1% either side of the 2% target. Suren Thiru, head of economics at the British Chambers of Commerce, urged the Monetary Policy Committee to ‘resist the temptation to raise interest rates, particularly during this period of heightened political uncertainty’, warning that raising rates ‘risks undermining consumer and business confidence’.