Commenting on a new Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) analysis published ahead of the Spring Statement on 23 March, Dr Mary Bousted, joint general secretary of the National Education Union, said:
"The IFS research and the worsening inflation outlook reinforce the NEU's call for the restoration of the pay losses imposed on teachers and other educators since 2010. IFS points out that public sector workers have suffered from huge real terms cuts to pay over the past decade. In education this has already resulted in major recruitment and retention problems, and cuts to educators' living standards. Teachers and other educators are key workers whose contribution to the pandemic response has been immense; the Government must protect their living standards instead of continuing to cut their pay.
"The real-terms growth rate in Department for Education funding announced for the Spending Review period (2022-23 to 2024-25) is 2% a year. This was already a slowing from the previous three-year period. The IFS estimates a quarter of the real-terms increase in spending will be wiped out through inflation. The education sector is set to lose out yet again.
"Teachers and other educators are already in the midst of a cost-of-living crisis even before the impact of higher inflation. They can't afford any more pay cuts, but the Government can afford to invest in our public services including education. Cuts to public sector pay damage the private sector too, due to the reduced spending power of public sector workers. Cuts to education cause significant economic damage, because economic recovery depends on investing in the skills and potential of our young people. Government investment to protect our public services including education is essential, and that means restoring pay cuts instead of inflicting more of them."