National poverty charity, Turn2us, has revealed a staggering 325% increase in public sector workers seeking its financial help since 2011; and is urging the government to review public sector pay levels ahead of Wednesday’s budget.
The charity, which provides practical support and information to people facing financial crisis, gave 408 grants to public sector education, health and government employees in 2018/19 – compared to just 96 in 2010/11.
Between 2010 and 2019, the proportion of grants Turn2us gave to public sector workers increased by 195% for health and social care employees, 217% for education employees, and 463% for government and local government employees.
In total, these three public sector job categories accounted for 13.67% of Turn2us grants given in 2018/19, up from 4.29% in 2010/11.
Sarah (not her real name), a mother of two, lives in Yorkshire and works as a civil servant. She was barely getting by paycheque-to-paycheque when her Council Tax bill suddenly rose from £84 to £145.
Sarah had to go into her overdraft to pay the bill, and then faced the overdraft charges from her bank. As the debts racked up she missed a council tax bill.
Consequently her local authority told her she had to pay a lump sum of £581 or face eviction. Only with a charitable grant was she able to get some temporary relief.
Thomas Lawson, Chief Executive at Turn2us, said: “Public sector employees – our teachers, nurses and firemen – should not have to rely on charity to make ends meet.
“In-work poverty is climbing in our country and too many underpaid employees are being left with nothing at the end of each month.
“Once inflation is accounted for, many public sector workers are earning less per month than they were at the start of the decade.
“The government must increase pay levels ahead of the budget if we want to reverse the trend of rising in-work poverty.”