On 25th November Rishi Sunak, the chancellor (who is in charge of Britain's money) announced a spending review. The review sets out what the government is going to do with its money.
What did Sunak say?
Sunak said that covid-19 health emergency is not over and the economic emergency has just begun, which is why we need to think about how the government will spend its money. He said he was going to make jobs, business and public services (schools, hospital, police etc.) his top priorities. You can read all of the key points in this article.
A controversial point around pay
Most years, salaries (the amount people get paid) increase by a small amount. This might be because a business is earning more money so can afford to pay people more or because they want to reward people for their hard work. However, in the spending review, Sunak said that pay rises for people who work in the public sector will be paused next year. Public sector workers include anyone who is paid by the government, like teachers, NHS staff, police officers, fire fighters, local government workers and lots more.
He said that salaries would be frozen (stay the same) UNLESS:
- you are medical staff working in the NHS - so doctors and nurses would get the rise but a receptionist or cleaning manager wouldn't
- you earn below £24,000 which is the median salary - in this case you will be guaranteed a pay rise of at least £250
This means that lots of public sector worker will miss out but Sunak said it would be wrong to give pay rises because it would make it unfair with the private sector (businesses that are not owned by the government). He said that lots of private businesses won't be able to increase pay this year due to the damage covid-19 has done.
Some people argue...
"It's unfair! We clapped for keyworkers each week during lockdown... they deserve a pay rise to reflect their work!"
Other people argue...
"It's fair! Everyone will feel the effect of covid-19 on their income so there should be no special treatment...we're all in this together."
What do you think?
Is the government right to put a pay freeze on most public sector workers? Vote in the poll and then comment below with your reasons to explain your opinion - don't forget to include examples!