A CAMPAIGN group has slammed the hypocrisy of politicians who took part in the Clap for Carers event but are considering a pay freeze for public sector staff.

Sussex Defend The NHS members took part in a socially distanced protest in Queen’s Park, Brighton, at the weekend in an attempt to raise awareness of healthcare staff’s plight.

The group carried banners which urged the Government to “protect staff and end underfunding, fragmentation and privatisation”.

Instead, campaigners want to achieve “free and fair health and social care for all”.

Last month, a national newspaper reported that a leaked Treasury plan showed the Tory Government was considering freezing the pay of public sector workers, including healthcare staff.

This is alleged to be a cost-cutting measure to help deal with the enormous budget deficit set to be created by the fallout of the coronavirus crisis.

But, with the heroic actions of healthcare staff being recognised in the weekly Clap for Carers event, Sussex Defend The NHS campaigners shared a strong message for anyone applauding who supported the reported plans.

“Don’t clap for the NHS then slap them with a pay freeze,” a spokeswoman said.

The Prime Minister’s press secretary told the national newspaper that the Government was “not going to forget” the contributions of frontline workers during the fight against the virus.

Last month, fronted with the question of whether there was truth to the rumours of the pay freeze, Boris Johnson himself said there was “no question” of this happening.

He said: “Absolutely not. Anyone who suggests that can sit on it.”

This was not the only point of contention which the group hoped to shine a spotlight on at the weekend.

With some primary school-age children set to return to school yesterday, campaigners argued it was too early to be taking this action.

It stated that “crucial indicators are too high and the Government systems for testing, tracking and tracing are not in place”.

Protester Janet Sang said: “This is yet another example of ‘profit before people’.

“The NHS and social care face a second wave of infections.

“The Government must ensure robust systems are in place to protect workers, the most vulnerable and the wider public.”

Brighton and Hove City Council advised schools in the city not to open yesterday, saying it was not yet safe to do so.