Public Sector parents hit worst by austerity drive

Parents working in the public sector will suffer the largest cuts to their incomes from government cuts and wage freezes according to research from the Trades Union Congress.

The TUC calculates that almost 180,000 children with a parent working in the public sector will be pushed into poverty by 2015, which is a proportionately higher figure than for the private sector.

Secretary General of the TUC Frances O’Grady accused the government of punishing the families of public sector workers with ‘years of pay freezes and real terms pay cuts.’

“Ministers like to play divide and rule by trying to pit private sector workers against allegedly well-paid public sector workers.  But these figures tell a very different story…The truth is that there are low and middle income workers in all parts of the economy and they are all having a really tough time.”

According to their calculations, the biggest losers are families where one parent works in the public sector and the other works in the private sector.  Their average income will decrease by about £100 per week by 2015.  Those where both parents work in the public sector will lose an average of £91 a week and households where both parents work in the private sector will lose an average of £44 per week.

The report also research predicted that child poverty would rise faster in households where both parents were working in the public sector.

However, a government spokesperson said the analysis didn’t take into account the changes that would result from their welfare and tax reforms such as universal credit and increasing the tax free personal allowance.  They maintained that the universal credit would make 3 million households better off and lift 250,000 children out of poverty.

The TUC analysis follows a number of other recent reports into the impact of tough pay deals and pay freezes since the start of the recession.  The Institute for Fiscal studies says the UK’s workers have suffered more financial pain since 2008 than in any other five year period of the modern age.

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