Scotland politics

Public sector workers already 'feel the pinch'

Economists have warned manifesto plans in the Scottish election are likely to result in large job losses in the public sector during the next four years.

And, according the Centre for Public Policy for Regions, those who remain will see the value of their earnings fall by at least 6% in real terms.

Blair Paterson is one public sector worker already feeling the pinch.

The father of two young children has worked as a meat hygiene inspector for the Food Standards Agency for more than 12 years.

His salary went up by 1% last year, but he's now looking at the prospect of a three-year wage freeze.

"There just seems to be a cloud of depression sitting round about where I work," he says.

"It's not just me, it seems to be everywhere, it seems to be everywhere all over the country.

"You don't hear about anyone getting a rise anymore, it's either a pay freeze or a pay cut."

'Chasing our tails'

His wife Angela says the family is already struggling to pay the bills.

She says: "I've noticed my grocery shop, it's increased quite a lot and usually it comes to the end of the month and it's putting the food shop on the credit card.

"And it's got to the stage now where we're chasing our tails."

Angela is training to be a teacher, but works part-time in the private sector where she says things aren't much better.

"I got a slight increase, it worked out at about £10 a month. It's a wage rise, it's better in my pocket, but you know it's not great," she says.

The rising cost of fuel puts a major dent in the Paterson's monthly budget. Blair makes an 84-mile round trip to work each day from Carluke to Bridge of Weir, so diesel sets him back around £200 a month.

It leaves little left for fun with the family.

"I remember when I was younger my mum and dad would say 'come on and jump in the car we'll go on a wee run', but you can't do that now." he says.

"You've got to think, have I got enough petrol. You can't just go and fill up your car."

But with government budgets tight, is it not fair that public sector workers should shoulder their part of the burden when it comes to balancing the books? Angela doesn't think so.

"I don't think it's fair," she says. "How do you motivate someone to do a good job if you're not paying them in-line with the cost of living?"

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