The home secretary will cut the bill for police pay by £30m by implementing the pay award three months later than officers expected.
Jacqui Smith was due to announce today that she “accepts” the 2.5% pay award for 2008 set by the independent Police Arbitration Tribunal (PAT), but will refuse to backdate payments to September 2007 when negotiations began.
Police Federation leaders are furious after learning of the decision through the contents of a confidential letter from the home secretary to chancellor Alistair Darling, obtained by the Daily Telegraph Smith was due to announce the decision tomorrow.
The letter outlines the effect of implanting the pay award in December: it will produce a “headline settlement of 1.9%”.
The Police Federation told the Daily Telegraph it is “extremely disappointed” by the 2.5 award recommended by the PAT, but Jan Berry, federation chairman, said earlier this week: “However, we entered the arbitration process knowing we would be bound by its decision.”
However, the negotiations were set up on the basis that any award would be back-dated to 1 September, the Daily Telegraph reported.
The pay saga has brought fresh claims that police may seek the right to strike, as by law they are not entitled to do so. Instead disputes can be referred by either party to the PAT, which operates under the auspices of the conciliation service ACAS. Terms of reference are agreed at the outset and the PAT’s decision is binding.