Prime Minister steps in to curb civil service pay rises

Gordon Brown has stepped in to restrict senior civil servant pay rises to 1.5% today,urging the executives to show “leadership” and “restraint” over pay.

The Senior Salaries Review Body had recommended that top public officials -including judges and senior healthcare staff -be awarded pay rises of 2.1% for 2009/10, but the prime minister’s intervention has now cut this award by 0.6%.

The pay rises will now fall well below the Retail Price Index -used to calculate public sector pay -which rose to 3.2% in February.

In a statement to MPs, the Prime Minister said: “It is important in the present economic climate that senior staff in the public sector show leadership in the exercise of pay restraint.”

Gill Bellord, director of pay, pensions and employment relations at NHS Employers, added: “We believe that the awards strike the right balance in being fair, while recognising both the challenging efficiency requirements that the NHS is being asked to deliver and the current economic climate.”

The armed forces, however,will still receive their recommended 2.8% pay increase, including generals, who are usually judged alongside their fellow senior officials. The award is in recognition of the deployment in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Government ministers will also see their pay frozen for the second consecutive year, while MPs will receive a 2.3% increase, amounting to about £1,500 per year.

But Brown has called on MPs to voluntarily give up this pay award which is made automatically unless the individual personally forgoes it.

Under new plans to help reduce the deficit in the pensions scheme, MPs will also be forced to make higher contributions to their pensions.

Last week Personnel Today reported that the three-year pay awards for non-senior NHS staff, police and teachers will continue to be paid in full.

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