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The gap between pay awards in the private and public sectors has widened, according to the latest data from Incomes Data Services.The median level for pay deals in the private sector in the three months to the end of June was 2.9 per cent, up from 2.5 per cent in the three months to May. The increase heightens the contrast with the public sector, where the median pay deal is frozen at zero. The manufacturing sector is leading the way in pay rises, with a median rise of 3 per cent, compared to 2.5 per cent in private services and 1.3 per cent in the not-for-profit sector. Overall, the median was 2.5 per cent across the whole economy, with most settlements in the 2-2.99 per cent range.While pay freezes are now the norm in the public sector, only six per cent of private sector workplaces have a freeze in place, the data from IDSPay.co.uk shows.Ken Mulkearn, Editor of IDS Pay Report, said: “Employees’ experiences in respect of annual pay awards are very different in the private and public sectors. The median level of awards has risen in the private sector, though it is still some way behind inflation. Meanwhile in the public sector the policy of freezing basic pay for most staff means that for many, the squeeze on incomes is even greater.”Inflation currently stands at 5 per cent as measured by the Retail Prices Index (RPI) and 4.2 per cent by the Consumer Prices Index (CPI), meaning that living standards are being eroded for almost all employees, even those experiencing a pay rise in nominal terms.