Tracy: “You have to make a choice whether you’re going to eat or pay a bill at the moment. And the bills are going to have to wait because I’ve got to feed my son.”
Austerity is still hitting this woman hard. Tracy is a full-time police officer. One of the thousands of public sector workers whose pay rises have been capped at one percent since 2013.
By June, Tracy couldn’t keep up with her rent payments.
Tracy: “You suddenly feel almost destitute that you’re at this point in your life. It’s just weird, it’s like can we actually believe we’re in this situation. We’ve come to our lives, we’re working people and we’re technically homeless.”
Public sector pay caps have been set to below inflation rates since 2011. Which means workers have had a real pay cut at an average of 7 per cent.
The government says public sector workers are paid well… compared to their private sector counterparts.
Phillip Hammond: “Independent figures show this that public sector workers, on average, are paid about ten per cent more that private sector workers.”
It’s estimated that the police force alone need a 5.9 per cent pay increase to get them back to their 2010 levels of pay.
Last month the police were granted a one per cent pay increase.
Tracy: “The one per cent’s all over the papers. So if we work out my one per cent. So I’m going to get an extra £233 a year. If I divide that by 12, that’s £19 a month before tax. And anything else that they’re going to take off. So realistically, I’m probably going to get, I don’t know, £14 maybe? That’s not going to make a difference to us.”
Public sector workers have to wait until the Budget next month to see if the caps on their pay will be lifted.