Pay freeze for senior civil servants and public sector staff until 2012

Senior civil servants and public sector workers will have their pay frozen for the next financial year, the government has announced.

Prime minister Gordon Brown said today senior civil servants, senior NHS managers earning more than £81,800, judiciary staff and senior military staff would not have their pay increased in 2010-11.

The announcement came as a response to the Report on Senior Salaries by the Senior Salaries Review Body (SSRB), which said: “Public finances are showing an unprecedented deficit and substantial reductions in public spending will be necessary in the coming years to redress the balance. We therefore conclude that there is no justification for general pay increases for our remit groups this year.”

The SSRB did propose a 2.25% pay rise for NHS managers earning less than £80,000, and raising the minimum pay for senior civil servants to £61,500, but this was rejected by the government.

The announcement follows recommendations by chancellor Alistair Darling in October that 40,000 senior public servants should have their pay frozen in 2010-11, and 700,000 middle-ranking public servants would have their pay rises capped at 1%.

In a ministerial statement, Brown said: “The government’s response to [the SSRB’s] report is consistent with the need for senior staff in the public sector to show leadership in the exercise of pay restraint.”

But Jonathan Baume, general secretary of the FDA union, which represents senior civil servants, said it was “simply untenable” to keep freezing civil servants’ pay, and that the move was “mean-spirited”.

He said: “We recognise the grave fiscal crisis facing the country as public expenditure has spiralled out of control. However, the senior civil service comprises dedicated senior public servants whose professionalism and dedication will be essential to lifting Britain out of the economic quagmire over the coming years.

“It is simply untenable for the government to continue freezing the pay of senior civil servants as a political device year after year.”

A Cabinet Office spokesman said: “While the contribution of the Civil Service is highly valued, against the backdrop of the challenges facing all sectors of the economy, it is right that senior staff should show leadership in pay restraint.”

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