How much do firefighters, paramedics and police officers earn?

6 October 2021
What was claimed

A firefighter’s salary is £29,345.

Our verdict

That was the salary of a competent firefighter in 2015. It’s now £32,244 outside of London.

What was claimed

A paramedic’s salary is £21,909.

Our verdict

That was a newly qualified paramedic’s salary in 2016. It’s now £25,655 outside of London.

What was claimed

A policeman’s salary is £30,901.

Our verdict

This does not match any of the pay points on the scale for police constable’s pay. Police constable salaries range from between £21,654 and £41,130.

What was claimed

An MP’s salary is £74,000.

Our verdict

That was an MP’s salary in 2016/17. It is now £81,932.

A graphic on Facebook which has been shared over 49,000 times makes a number of claims about public sector pay, including the salaries of police, paramedics, firefighters and MPs. 

Although this post in particular was first shared in 2017, it seems to have had a resurgence and has been shared many thousands of times in recent weeks.

While it is true that MPs earn more than most in these other professions, the figures are not quite correct. 

Firefighters

The post claims a firefighter’s salary is £29,345. That was the salary for a “Competent” level firefighter (one who is fully qualified) between July 2015 to June 2016.

So it was slightly out of date even when the post was first published in 2017, when a competent firefighter’s salary was £29,934.

It is now £32,244 outside of London. A competent London Fire Brigade firefighter earns between £37,032 and £37,984.

Paramedics

The post claims a paramedic’s salary is £21,909, which was the starting salary (and the first salary on the band 5 NHS pay scale) for a paramedic in 2016, before the government introduced a new pay deal which meant paramedics started on band 6 “where appropriate”.

That meant that paramedics “whose job description is matched to the new band 6 profile” moved up to a starting salary of £26,302 outside of London. By the time the Facebook post was published that had slightly increased to £26,565.

Now, newly qualified paramedics start at band 5 (which starts at £25,655) before progressing to band 6 after two years. The first salary on band 6 is £32,306.

Police officers

The post claims police officers earn £30,901. This doesn’t match any band on the scale for police constable’s pay since 2016, including the Metropolitan Police.

When the post was originally made, point 0 on the police constables pay scale (for those employed after April 2013) was £19,971. This isn’t what all new police officers were paid, as it depends on their qualifications. The next rung up, pay point 1, was £23,124. Constables weren’t paid over £30,000 until they were between pay points 5 and 6. Progressing to higher pay points usually depends on years of service and performance.

Now, pay point 0 for new constables is £21,654 and the rest of the pay points range between £24,780 and £41,130. Those earning over £24,000 did not get a pay rise in 2021. 

MPs now earn significantly more

The post claims that MPs earn £74,000, which was the annual salary between April 2016 and March 2017.

MPs now earn £81,932, and have done since April 2020. MPs pay has since been frozen for 2021/22.

This article is part of our work fact checking potentially false pictures, videos and stories on Facebook. You can read more about this—and find out how to report Facebook content—here. For the purposes of that scheme, we’ve rated this claim as missing context because the figures are now out of date, and weren’t quite correct even in 2017 when the post was first created.

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