Cost of living and support staff :: NEWS
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Cost of living and support staff

05 August 2022 Share


We are aware that support staff may be facing significant challenge given current financial pressures. We have been in touch with some Unions to get an update on how things are progressing with the pay award for support staff, and have also collated some resources which may help.  

If you know of something which has helped you let us know and we’ll add it to this page.   

Update from Unison 

Please find attached the employers’ NJC pay offer for school and council workers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, which they say is a final offer. The key points are: 

  • It’s a one year offer, payable from 1 April 2022, for £1925 on all pay points 
  • 4.04% on all allowances 
  • Deletion of SCP1 from 1 April 2023. This is without prejudice to future negotiations regarding next year 
  • Increase of one day in annual leave for all staff from 1 April 2023 
  • No increase in NJC mileage rate, but writing to HMRC to lobby them to increase their rates 
  • Agreement to continue term time work, discuss family leave and pay discussions, and discuss homeworking policy 
  • Rejection of covid payment, homeworking allowance, reduction in the working week  

The headline offer is worth 10.5% at the bottom end of the pay spine – the offer letter has a full breakdown of what it means for each spinal column point.  

In the light of this offer, UNISON’s NJC Committee will meet on Friday 29 July to consider feedback from regions and decide on next steps.   

The joint trade union press release can be found here: https://www.unison.org.uk/news/press-release/2022/07/unions-react-to-pay-offer-for-council-and-school-staff/  

Update from NEU 

Our most up to date statement on support staff pay can be found here Support staff pay and conditions | NEU 

“We know that support staff members face the most acute problems making ends meet. Their pay is decided in a different way to school teachers. Unison, GMB and Unite await the local government employers’ response to their pay claim; it is expected next week. We are talking to Unison, GMB and Unite and stand ready to ballot NEU support staff members alongside them, synchronising with our teachers ballot (September 24th ) as far as we can.”    

Government help  

  • Energy - All households will receive a £400 grant from the government. 
  • Warm Homes Discount – £140 off your energy bill for low-income households. 
  • Winter Fuel Payment of £200 for pensioners, or £300 if a household has someone over the age of 80. 
  • Cold Weather Payment - £25 per week when temperature is zero or below. 
  • Allowance, Income-related Employment and Support Allowance, Income Support, Working Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit, Pension Credit. Paid in 2 lump sums starting July 2022. 
  • Household Support Fund – those eligible may receive help with essentials such as food, clothing and utilities. 
  • Disability Cost of Living Payment of £150 for those on Disability Living Allowance, Personal Independence Payment, Attendance Allowance, Scottish Disability Benefits, Armed Forces Independence Payment, Constant Attendance Allowance and War Pension Mobility Supplement. One-off payment in September. 
  • NIC threshold change to £12,570 from July 2022. 
  • Universal Credit taper rate to change from 63% to 55%.  

Where to go for help  

These shouldn’t be interpreted as recommendations, it’s a starting point to source support.  

  • You can check if you’re eligible for various forms of help here: -   Citizens Advice Bureau -  For example: Bills and rent, food, health costs (NHS charges), child’s school costs, travel costs. 
  • There may be grants available 
  • You may be able to take money from a pension if you’re over 55. 
  • Money Saving Expert has put together a ‘Heat the Human, not the Home’ guide with helpful tips    

Other tips  

  • Look for cheaper insurances 
  • Swap your credit card to a 0% balance transfer card 
  • Go through your bank account and cancel any unnecessary direct debits 
  • Look at your budgeting – there are apps to help, like Snoop, Yolt and Money Dashboard 
  • Use supermarket loyalty schemes 
  • If you find yourself in debt, there are organisations that can help – National Debt Line, StepChange, Citizens Advice, Christians Against Poverty 
  • Look after your mental health. This is a great resource. https://www.blurtitout.org/resource/cost-of-living-crisis-things-which-might-help/  
  • Take part in this money challenge: https://www.yourmoneysorted.co.uk/thrive?s=09  
  • Don't forget your public libraries! They can provide entertainment, events and (for your non-school staff friends perhaps) a place to work during the day. Read this blog from Warwickshire Libraries to get an idea of how they're helping.