FREEZING the pay of millions of public sector workers – including police officers - would be a betrayal of their hard work in the effort to combat Covid-19, Cumbria Police Federation has said.

Reports suggest the Government is considering announcing a public sector pay freeze in next week’s Spending Review to cover the UK’s deficit in the wake of the coronavirus lockdown.

Any plan to freeze salaries has been blasted by Paul Williams, the chair of Cumbria Police Federation, the union which represents rank and file police officers.

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.

“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.”

The freeze would apply to 5.5 million workers, including armed forces, teachers and civil servants.

It has been reported that NHS workers would be exempt from the measures.

Police Federation national chairman John Apter said a pay freeze would be 'unforgivable and a betrayal'.

A letter by Chancellor Rishi Sunak regarding the Spending Review published in July outlined that in the 'interest of fairness we must exercise restraint in future public sector pay awards, ensuring that across this year and the spending review period, public sector pay levels retain parity with the private sector'.