UNIONS and MPs have welcomed a pay rise for public sector workers on the front line of the coronavirus pandemic – but say much more needs to be done.

Doctors, teachers and police officers are among those who will see extra money in their pay packet following the outbreak of coronavirus in the UK.

More than 300 NHS workers have died in England after contracting the virus. Teachers have continued looking after key workers’ children under lockdown, while police have been enforcing social distancing rules.

The Treasury said the above-inflation pay rise announced on Tuesday will see almost 900,000 workers benefit, with teachers and doctors given the largest increase at 3.1 per cent and 2.8 per cent respectively.

The Argus:

Sussex Police and Crime Commissioner Katy Bourne said it was “welcome news for Sussex Police”. She praised staff for supporting public health measures during the pandemic and said the pay rise was “a step in the right direction in properly recognising and rewarding all they do”.

But some think the Government’s offer is too little, too late.

The Argus:

Paul Shellard, who worked for 27 years as a teacher at Dorothy Stringer School in Brighton and is now the city’s National Education Union secretary, said: “The pay rise proposed for teachers and other public sector workers is welcome and long overdue but it is inadequate and will not solve the recruitment crisis or stem the exit of teachers from the profession.

“The Government needs to invest much more in schools and colleges if it is serious about supporting achievement and dealing with disadvantage.”

The Argus:

Lloyd Russell-Moyle, the Labour MP for Brighton Kemptown, said: “I welcome the announcement, though I’m disappointed a pay rise has not yet been agreed for nurses.

“We need to be rewarding our key workers and I’d like to see us doing more to really reward them. No one should be living in poverty or with poor pay.”

The Argus:

There has been criticism that social care workers are not being offered a pay rise.

Peter Kyle, Labour MP for Hove and Portslade, said: “Any pay rise for our front line heroes is welcome but this meagre one does not make up for seven years of pay freezes by the Government and leaves out our social care workers who have done so much.

"When will the Government stop seeing social care as the poor relative of the NHS?’’