This tweet on public sector pay doesn’t factor in inflation

6 June 2019
What was claimed

A police officer’s starting salary was £24,000 in 2010 and £23,000 in 2018.

Our verdict

This doesn’t factor in inflation. In 2018 prices, the starting salary fell from £27,400 in 2010 to £23,100 in 2018.

What was claimed

In 2010, a newly qualified teacher’s salary was £21,500 and in 2018 was £22,000.

Our verdict

This doesn’t factor in inflation. In 2018 prices, a new teacher’s salary in a local authority-run school in England and Wales and outside of London was £25,400 in 2010 and £22,900 in 2018.

What was claimed

The salary of a newly qualified nurse was £22,000 in 2010 and the same in 2018.

Our verdict

This doesn’t take into account inflation. In 2018 prices, a fully qualified nurse’s starting salary was £24,900 in 2010 and £23,000 in 2018.

What was claimed

An MP’s salary was £66,000 in 2010 and £77,000 in 2018.

Our verdict

This doesn’t factor in inflation. In 2018 prices, MPs' pay remained stable between 2010 and 2018 at around £77,400.

Two Facebook posts making claims about what police, newly qualified teachers, nurses and MPs earn, have had over 2,000 shares altogether.

We checked this claim when it first went viral in 2018. All the figures the image mentions are in the right ballpark, but the original tweet doesn’t take into account inflation, which is the change in how much things cost over time.

That’s important in this case, because if inflation is going up faster than your wage is then you can buy less with it. Small increases in pay in cash terms (without factoring in inflation) can actually translate into a pay decrease in real terms (with inflation).

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Police officer starting salaries dropped about 16% between 2010 and 2018

From September 2010, the starting salary for a new police constable was £23,300 in England and Wales. The Home Office changed police pay in September 2017, so for most of 2018 new police officers could earn up to £23,100 (although not all new officers would start on this, it depends on skills and experience). This doesn’t include London weighting or benefits.

We used the CPIH measure for inflation, using an average of four comparable quarters between 2010 and 2018. CPIH is the Office for National Statistics’ “preferred and most comprehensive measure”. CPI (a similar measure that doesn’t include housing costs) is the inflation measure the government uses to measure inflation for things it tends to pay for (like pension contributions).

Using this measure, new police officer pay dropped by 16% in real terms, or £4,300 over the eight years between 2010 and 2018.

Newly qualified teachers pay was down by 10%

Outside of London, the starting salary for new teachers in England and Wales was £21,600 in 2010. For most of 2018, the salary was £22,900.

That looks like a small increase, but factoring in inflation, it’s actually a decrease of around £2,500 or 10% in eight years.

These wages are for teachers in local-authority run schools—academies and free schools don’t have to follow the government’s pay structure.

New starter nurses earned 8% less in 2018 than they might have done in 2010

From April 2010, newly qualified nurses in England were on a starting salary of around £21,200. From 2018, they should have started on around £23,000 (nurses should start at band 5 on the NHS pay scale). Again, although that looks like an increase, it’s actually a relative decrease of around £1,900, or 8%.

MPs’ pay has stayed pretty much the same in real terms

In April 2010, MPs earned £65,700 and from April 2018 (to March 2019) they earned £77,400. Over the years, MPs’ pay has increased pretty much in line with inflation, so in real terms has increased by about £50, or 0.1%.

You can read more about all these figures here.

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