CHANCELLOR Rishi Sunak has announced millions of public sector workers will be hit with a pay freeze ­— here is the Isle of Wight reaction as we get it.

Today (Wednesday), the chancellor announced he could not justify an across-the-board pay rise when many in the private sector had seen their pay and working hours cut during the crisis.

He said while nurses, doctors and other NHS workers will receive a pay rise, other public sector workers will not, unless their pay is under £24,000, in which case he guarantees a pay rise of at least £250.

Read more here.

Isle of Wight County Press:

Chancellor Rishi Sunak says the pay rises will be paused to protect jobs.

Police Federation chair, John Apter, said the announcement was a "betrayal", and that his colleagues and others in the public sector would see it as a kick in the teeth.

Among those to criticise the announcement is UNISON representative at the Isle of Wight Council, Mark Chiverton.

He believes many people will regard it as "an insult to the massive contribution they've made in exceptionally stressful circumstances".

Speaking to the County Press, he said: "My initial reaction is that what's being proposed is very divisive.

"While it is good that low-paid workers and the key role they play is being acknowledged, those employees have been held down for many years, so £250 will not go far in terms of rewarding them and the absolute key services they've been providing.

Isle of Wight County Press:

Mark Chiverton at a Save Our NHS Protect Walk.

"Low-paid care workers need a huge pay rise in my view, to adequately reward them for the work they undertake on a daily bases, which has been highlighted massively as a result of Covid-19.

"While it is welcome that something is being done, it's not enough. The whole package doesn't recognise the work of all sectors.

"We've got very low-paid social care staff, very low-paid staff in schools, who have all been battling in very difficult situations.

"Quite a number of those will end up with nothing, and there will also be people being paid maybe £50 above the threshold who will still struggle to make ends meet, and receive nothing at all.

Isle of Wight County Press:

Mark Chiverton at the IW County Press Health Hustings.

"It doesn't do nearly enough to reflect the massive contribution being made across the public sector.

"Public service workers, over the last decade, have fallen behind massively. Compared to where they were in 2010, it's taking them five days to earn what they would have earned in four.

"I think we would regard it as a real kick in the teeth for public service workers and what they provide.

"So many people who have been working in tense, difficult, unnerving conditions ­— to find out they're going to get an extra £5 a week, they will be massively disappointed."

Peter Shreeve, assistant district secretary of the National Education Union, said: "The Chancellor said he wants stronger public services but has failed to deliver.

Isle of Wight County Press:

"If one has a genuine appreciation of the reality of the stresses within public services, surely, he cannot continue to fiddle while Rome burns.

"It is not enough for Government ministers to thank teachers for their vital contribution during Covid. 

"Such sentiments ring hollow when they are then subject to a pay freeze which follows previous pay freezes and years of below-inflation pay increases which have eaten into the real value of their pay since 2010.  

"Support staff face the prospect of yet more below-inflation pay increases. These pay cuts will hit education workers just as inflation is expected to pick up in late 2021.  

Isle of Wight County Press:

"A rise would be fair, but it is not a question of fairness, but of necessity. 

"Today’s announcement will negate all the Government’s attempts to keep teachers in the profession. It will make recruitment and retention problems even worse to the detriment of our young people, their parents and the economy. 

"The Government should be acting to support pay for all workers at this difficult time. 

"Cutting the pay of teachers and other public sector workers will reduce spending power in the economy.  

"It will reduce the amount they spend on sectors already in crisis such as retail and hospitality, so attacks on public sector pay are attacks on private sector workers too.

"While it is welcome that the Chancellor has not cut back the planned spending on schools as some feared, this spending increase is not enough to complete the job of restoring previous cuts and includes nothing for the extra costs of Covid-19 or the rapidly increasing number of Island pupils with ECHPs which schools are currently facing. 

"True levelling up means investing more in education and other public services, not levelling down by further attacking pay. 

"The Government is breaking its promises to increase teacher pay, but the recruitment and retention problems that gave rise to those promises have not gone away. 

"At a time when staff in education have contributed so much to the pandemic response, this attack on education staff is neither fair nor economically defensible.

"In education there is often a shortage of staff at all levels as there is in nursing, which is worsening.

"In contrast there never appears to be a shortage of candidates to be MP."

Another to respond to the chancellor's announcement was Matt Wrack, Fire Brigades Union general secretary.

Isle of Wight County Press:

He said: “Ministers were all too happy to call on firefighters early in the pandemic, but after standing outside Downing Street and applauding key workers, the Chancellor with the same hands gave them a cold, hard slap in the face.

"Today, the UK fire and rescue service remains 11,200 firefighters down on a decade ago, and the Chancellor has utterly failed to do anything about it.

“We’ve spent the last few weeks lobbying to show how urgently the fire and rescue service needs investment to respond to threats like climate change, pandemics, and the building safety crisis exposed by Grenfell.

"But rather than fund the frontline responders to these emergencies, the Chancellor has decided to try and give them a real-terms pay cut.

"We won’t stand by and let the government attack key workers like this.

"The Chancellor does not directly set firefighter pay and his cruel decision today will not stop our campaign for fairer pay and funding.”