Britain’s chancellor has the unenviable job of planning how to spend the country’s money against a backdrop of an economy devastated by the COVID crisis and huge job losses.
Ahead of his spending announcement, the chancellor insisted his “number one priority is to protect jobs and livelihoods” while promising to fund the National Health Service (NHS) as it continues to fight the pandemic’s second wave.
Public sector workers appear to be in line to bear the brunt of that effort with a pay freeze, causing outrage that hospital staff on the frontline of the pandemic will be hardest hit. Mr. Sunak told Cabinet ministers they would have to “think about public pay settlements” in the context of the “wider economic climate”.
Dr. Ellen Welch, who sits on a committee of the Doctors’ Association U.K. (DAUK), tells Newsweek that if a potential pay freeze does hit those working within the NHS it “will come as a huge kick in the teeth for staff morale”.