More than a month has elapsed since George Osborne’s Spending Review, and I think it’s fair to say that the dust still hasn’t quite settled – especially among civil servants. Cuts announced to public sector spending and, perhaps more pressing for employees, changes to pay have largely been met with criticism.
Changes to pay
Today, I’m going to focus on the alterations to pay, since I think this is what most people are more immediately concerned about – after all, what with the rising cost of living and cuts to key services, the money we earn is being stretched further and further.
First, a quick recap on the proposed changes. The Spending Review details were released on June 26th, and they revealed an £11.5 billion cuts plan. As part of this plan, public sector workers will see their pay increases capped at one per cent in the 2015-16 period.
While this will no doubt come as a shock to those accustomed to receiving larger increases, perhaps the biggest blow was the news that progression pay is for the scrapheap. This system – whereby civil servants automatically move up through pay scales – should end by 2015-16.
However, George Osborne claims the move will help make the system fairer, explaining that it is currently outdated. He also pointed out that as well as being irksome for public sector employees who don’t receive it, progressive pay is unfair to the private sector, since these workers help pay for it.
Dealing with financial pressures
So, if you are a member of the civil service, ways to combat salary changes by saving money are probably on your mind. Fortunately, being part of the civil service can still bolster your finances – for example, if you are a member of Prospect union, you can join a members club such as CSMA Club to get discounts on day to day expenses.
For instance, you can save money on necessities like home insurance, contents insurance and car insurance this way – as much as 15 per cent in some cases. Of course, a single saving like this will help, but if you can manage to take advantage of as many deals like this as possible, you’re likely to see your monthly and annual spending drop significantly.
Now, while it’s great that you can save on the essentials, I’m also really drawn to the fact that you can get discounts on treats too – things like days out, holidays and even wine. This just makes enjoying yourself and spending quality time with family and friends that little bit easier financially – something that’ll no doubt be particularly welcome if you’re raising a family.
As an example, you can get money off staying in holiday parks in places like the Forest of Dean and Devon, which is absolutely perfect for low-cost staycations. If you’d prefer to head overseas though, discounts on ferry crossings, cruises, car hire and airport parking are also available. So, you needn’t worry that selecting a discounted option will restrict your choices too much.
In terms of things that might particularly appeal to parents, I think money off theme park entry and cinema tickets stand out. After all, these are great ways to entertain the kids – particularly during the holidays – but can often be expensive. You can save around 40 per cent on entry to attractions like Thorpe Park and Alton Towers.