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Teaching assistants 'could see pay freeze'

08/07/2009 Kelly
Teaching assistants and teachers could be among public sector workers who may see their pay frozen in future, if proposals from the head of the government's spending watchdog are supported.

Steve Bundred, chief executive of the Audit Commission, has claimed that public sector pay levels are currently too high and has claimed "severe pay restraint" is necessary across the public sector to help the government balance its books in the wake of the economic downturn of the past year.

"At a time when inflation is likely to be between two per cent and three per cent, a pain-free way of cutting public spending would be to freeze public-sector pay, or at least impose severe pay restraint," he told the Observer.

Such a move would hit a wide variety of public sector workers, including teachers and teaching assistants in primary and secondary schools.

The banking crisis at the end of 2008 resulted in huge amounts of public money being pumped into banks in order to prevent them from going bust, while the government has also brought forward spending on a wide range of projects in an effort to stimulate the economy through the recession.

Those efforts have left a large black hole in public finances and public borrowing has now reached record levels, meaning ministers need to find ways of refilling the coffers over the years ahead.
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