By Claire West

Commenting on statistics showing that take home pay has increased by 1.3% - well below the level of inflation - Dave Prentis, General Secretary of UNISON the UK’s largest public service union, said:

“The squeeze on pay is adding to the country’s economic woes with consumer spending power and confidence plummeting. Increasingly we see empty and boarded up shops littering the nation’s high streets.

“The pitiful 1.3% pay increase across the economy is bad enough, but for more than a million local government workers their pay is completely frozen this year. With inflation at 3.1% and with the increase in VAT and national insurance kicking in next March, the picture looks bleak.

“Public sector workers face a further 2 year pay freeze which will cause untold hardship to working families. Unless this Government starts to think about the damage that a pay freeze will cause, we will see more hard working people losing their homes and falling into impossible levels of debt.”