“We’ve been doing this for 30 years, and we have never had this kind of public support”, were the words on the PCS picket line this morning.

Ahead of today’s budget, civil servants from Durham’s Land Registry were out on strike for the second time since their union announced industrial action in November.

They want a 10 per cent pay rise, to bring wages back in line with pre-austerity levels, as well as increased job security, and a £15 per hour living wage.

Like many of his colleagues, Stuart Dunn, who has worked at Durham Land Registry for 34 years, has felt frustrated by the Government’s response to industrial action – but the government has deemed the union’s demands unaffordable.

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On his hope for today’s budget, Mr Dunn said: “I would like them to recognise that we work for the Government.

“They’ve offered us a pay rise of just 2 per cent when inflation is at 10 per cent.

“We don’t put our money into offshore trusts or save it in bank accounts for years – we spend it in local businesses.

“They need to invest in us to invest in Durham’s economy.”

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For most, walking out has been a last resort – but issues “have been building for years”, leaving some employees of the Civil Service having to visit food banks, or unable to afford the commute into work.

Mr Dunn has two children at university – and has been struggling to balance with the rising costs of higher education with his salary.

“My son gets a four and a half grand loan, but next year, his accommodation costs next year will be seven and a half grand.

“He’s got a job, I am having to work overtime to just to pay the bills, and debts are building up.

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“I’d hate to have to try raise kids on this money. There are young people coming into the business, and I don’t know how they survive.

Civil servants salaries were frozen in 2010, and since then, many have only been given small pay increases, the PCS claims, amounting to a real terms pay cut.

However, the Government has said that PCS’ demands would amount costs of £2.4 billion, making them unaffordable.