So when will it all end?
Lancashire’s economy has lost out on £267m through a public sector pay cap that has left nurses going to food banks and firefighters struggling to feed their families.
Blackpool and Fylde has lost £57m alone, with Wyre and Preston North adding another £24m to the amount lost by the local economy.
That is the claim from trade unionists, who say that the decade long public sector pay cap – as well as harming low paid workers – is strangling the county’s economy.
New figures from the TUC show that rising prices and stagnating or falling pay rises – also hitting the private sector – have left many Lancashire workers around £2,695 worse off in real terms than in 2010.
The TUC’s figures appear to show that far from being over, austerity is still a reality for many in Lancashire.
But in a late twist, more than one million council workers have now been offered a two-year pay deal worth two per cent a year for most employees.
Workers on salaries starting at £19,430 would receive a two per cent rise from next April 2018 and a further two per cent in April 2019, with those on lower salaries receiving higher increases.
North West firefighter and FBU official Gary Keary said: “Sadly firefighters have and continue to be hit very hard by the worsening pay situation. There isn’t an organisation in the public sector that hasn’t been hit.
“Full-time operational firefighters are struggling to feed their families.”
The TUC claims the public sector pay cap has reduced spending power in the North West by £1.3 billion this year.
The analysis shows that the North West’s public‑sector workers are earning, on average, £2,695 less today than if their pay had risen in line with inflation (CPI).
As a result, since the pay caps began in 2010, full‑time public sector workers in the North West have had £7 billion less to spend in the local economy.
In Preston alone, that is a loss of £33.2 million.
Across North West areas, the figures show local economies are missing out on huge amounts:
In Merseyside, spending power is down £285m;
In Greater Manchester, it is down £497m;
Lancashire has experienced a reduction of £267m.
Recent TUC polling shows that one in seven (15 per cent) of public sector workers skipped meals this year to make ends meet.
And almost one in four said they couldn’t pay an unexpected bill of £500.
Research published by the IPPR found that raising public sector pay would boost spending in local economies.
And it would help the public purse by raising tax revenues and reduce the cost of benefits.