The Chancellor of Exchequer dismantled the former Labour Party leader’s demand for a 10 percent pay increase for civil servants. Mr Sunak outlined that prior to the coronavirus pandemic the gap between the public sector wages and private sector wages was 7 percent and that this will have increased during 2020.
Mr Corbyn said: “Throughout the coronavirus crisis, public sector workers in all areas have delivered brilliantly and helped to save lives and look after all our communities.
“Civil servants have lost 19 percent in wages over the past 10 years due to austerity.
“There is a 12 percent gender pay gap that affects civil servants.
“So will the Chancellor recognise the importance of their work and participation by giving an increase of 10 percent to begin to make up for the ground we have lost over the last 10 years?
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“And instead of saying to them as thanks for their work, they are going to get a maximum of £5 a week for the lowest-paid instead return to proper national pay bargaining for all civil servants so that those people that deliver for us are seen to be treated properly and fairly as we come out of the coronavirus crisis?”
Mr Sunak replied: “I am glad I have been given an opportunity to thank my fantastic team of civil servants in the Treasury who have been extraordinary in their hard work and creativity throughout this crisis.
“Unsurprisingly my numbers are slightly different from those of the Honourable Gentlemen.
“According to the ONS before this crisis even started in 2019 there existed a 7 percent pay premium between the public and private sectors after accounting for characteristics and pensions that gap has no doubt been exacerbated and widened over the last 6 to 12 months.
“That is why I believe it is fair to take the approach that we have done.
“But I do share a desire to protect those on lower incomes which is why those 2.1 million people that earn less than 24,000 will receive a pay raise of £250.”
During the spending review, the Chancellor outlined that signs of economic normality across the UK will not be visible until 2022 because of the grave impact of the coronavirus crisis.
Mr Sunak said: “The OBR forecast the economy will contract this year by 11.3 percent, the largest fall in output for more than 300 years.
“As the restrictions are eased, we expect the economy to start recovering, growing by 5.5 percent next year, and 6.6 percent in 2022, then 2.3, 1.7 and 1.8 percent in the following years.
“Even with growth returning, our economic output is not expected to return to pre-crisis level until the fourth quarter of 2022.
“And the economic damage is likely to be lasting. Long-time scarring means in 2025, the economy will be around 3 percent smaller than expected in the March Budget.”