A couple of stories in the papers this weekend have really vexed me. Firstly I think the decision not to back date the police's 2.5% pay rise to September is really disappointing - not least because it effectively means that their pay rise will amount to 1.9%. This was as a direct result of the Home Secretary ignoring recommendations by the Police Arbitration Board and as a consequence has left ordinary officers feeling betrayed and angry. Jan Berry, the Police Federation's chairman, and former Kent police officer, is an absolute first rate advocate of the police but I fear she has been badly let down by the Home Secretary on this issue, and now the Federation are considering how to react with possible unofficial strike action being an option. I very much hope that won't happen but at least two officers have told me how low morale is in the police force and this will just add to their despair. An excellent article in Kent on Sunday highlights the impact on Kent police officers.
Another story that has angered me is that pensioners who pick up their benefit through the Post Office on a Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday may not be able to pick up their pension before Christmas because the Government won't change the date to Friday 21st December. This means that pensioners will have only 3 hours on Christmas Eve to pick up their pension because of Post Office opening times over the Christmas week. Pensioner groups such as Help the Aged are deeply concerned that some will go without over Christmas because of this naive process driven approach. I hope common sense prevails.