Treasury defends cap on public sector pay rises

22 Apr 16
Chief secretary to the Treasury Greg Hands has defended the government’s public sector pay policy, stating that restraint in wages is a key part of the government’s deficit reduction plan.

Setting out the reports from the public sector pay bodies for top civil servants, the judiciary and senior military figures, Hands highlighted that the 1% cap on increases, which has been in place since 2012, protected public services.

“Senior public sector workers, like everyone else, will have to continue playing their part, to ensure we deliver security for working people across the country,” he said.

“The independent OBR estimates that 200,000 public sector jobs have been protected thanks to our average 1% pay policy so we can continue to deliver crucial public services. The independent pay review bodies have worked hard to bring forward a balanced and affordable set of recommendations that delivers on our commitments to increase pay by an average of 1% across the workforces.”

Hands accepted the recommendations for a 1% pay increase across the judiciary, senior military officers, and medics and dentists in the armed forces.

The government has accepted the majority of the Senior Salary Review Body recommendations, and the average pay rise will remain around 1%.

Dave Penman, general secretary of the FDA trade union that represents senior civil servants, said endemic issues of unequal pay, rock bottom morale and ossified pay frameworks could not be addressed within a 1% cap.

“Making a virtue of poverty pay awards and the certainty of continued straitened times for civil servants is one thing, but the Treasury compounds the very real problems facing today’s civil service by limiting any possible flexibility that departments might sensibly utilise,” Penman added.

“At a time when the civil service is being asked to deliver ever more elaborate policies with ever fewer resources, civil servants are constantly being asked to work more flexibly; it’s time the chancellor led by example and loosened the stranglehold on civil service employers.”

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