Opinion Former Article

PCS: Council tax savings dwarfed by extra money from lifting pay freeze

Lifting the public sector pay freeze would give the average civil servant's household 16 times more than the saving under chancellor George Osborne's rehashed council tax freeze announcement, the Public and Commercial Services union says.

If the government ended the pay freeze and gave inflation-proofed salary increases, it would mean the average PCS member would receive an extra GBP 1188 a year.

Osborne's two-year council tax freeze - first promised in his 2008 Tory conference speech, and included in his party's 2010 manifesto and the coalition agreement - would save the average household just GBP 72 a year, GBP 1.40 a week.

On top of government cuts to local authority funding, the council tax freeze will inevitably be paid for by closing libraries, care centres and cutting other essential local services.

Labour's proposal to cut VAT from 20% to 17.5% would save the average household GBP 310 a year, GBP 6 a week.

With growth flatlining, the union says it makes no sense to suck demand out of the economy by cutting the pay of millions of public sector workers.

PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: "Savings from extending the council tax freeze are inconsequential, and dwarfed by the extra money people would have available to spend if the government ended the public sector pay freeze.

"These figures show Osborne and his fellow millionaire Tories have no interest in developing serious policies to protect low and average income households while getting our economy moving again."

ENDS

Notes

- For information and interview requests contact PCS national press officer Richard Simcox on 020 7801 2747 or 07833 978216

- The Public and Commercial Services union represents civil and public servants in central government. It has around 300,000 members in over 200 departments and agencies, and in parts of government transferred to the private sector. PCS is the UK's sixth largest union and is affiliated to the TUC. The general secretary is Mark Serwotka and the president is Janice Godrich - on Twitter @janicegodrich

- Follow PCS on Twitter @pcs_union

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