KEY workers in the public sector, including police, could see a pay freeze in an upcoming Government statement.

Sources suggest Chancellor Rishi Sunak could include a pay freeze for public sector workers as the Treasury looks to cut costs and account for spending arising from Covid-19.

NHS workers are set to be exempt as thanks for their efforts during the pandemic.

Whether or not the pay freeze comes into force is currently speculation, with some believing NHS staff will be included after all.

Rehana Azam, national secretary of the GMB union, said: “We will not stand by and allow public sectors workers to pay for this crisis with new austerity and a morale-sapping wage freeze.

"This is a kick in the teeth for those who have been fighting the pandemic. Workers have lost friends and loved ones. Now they’re being kicked while they’re down.

“Our key workers are still feeling the effect of ten years of Tory austerity, pay freezes and squeezes. Rishi Sunak is now poised to add insult to injury for millions of public sector workers.”

Peter Tyson, a Labour councillor for Whitehaven South ward, said: “I think it’s disgusting. At this time and the difficulties we’re having with the virus, I don’t think we want to be putting any more burdens on anybody.

“It disheartens the people that are doing those jobs.

“My daughter works in a hospital and I’m pleased to see that they’re not going to freeze their wages.”

But he added that none of the public sector workers should see a wage freeze.

“They shouldn’t take it out on the front-line workers.”

Paul Williams, the chair of Cumbria Police Federation, which represents police officers, slammed plans to freeze pay. He said: “We have been repeatedly kicked by the Government for a decade and suffered a pay freeze which left us 18 per cent below inflation.

“Finally, when we thought we were getting somewhere, another kicking comes in a time when we’re needed most.

“Our cops have worked harder than ever under incredible risk.

“Police assaults have gone through the roof, our pensions have been torn to shreds and our members are already suffering financial hardship."

Mr Williams added: “Is this how we honour those who have fallen in the line of duty and those who risk their lives daily? If so then shame on our Government.”