Senior public sector staff could face pay freeze

The government has proposed a pay freeze for senior public sector staff along with rises of less than 1% for hospital doctors, dentists and non-senior civil servants.

Chancellor Alistair Darling will write to the independent pay review bodies in a bid to get them to impose the changes, which would come into force next April. If the pay freeze goes ahead, it would affect public sector staff including judges, family doctors, NHS managers and high-level civil servants.

The Treasury’s proposal was made as part of evidence gathered every year for the review bodies that recommend pay for employees with the highest salaries and for NHS staff. These review bodies will formulate a response to the Treasury’s proposals by next Spring but the government can decide to reject their recommendations.

A Treasury spokesperson confirmed the government would continue honouring three year pay-deals for teachers, nurses and police but proposed scrapping the 3.04% pay increase contained in the three-year deal for senior civil service staff.

Liam Byrne, chief secretary to the Treasury, said: “If we want to halve the deficit over four years and protect frontline services, we have to make tough but realistic decisions on pay. That means leadership from senior groups and realistic increases for other workforces.”

Dai Hudd, deputy general secretary at Prospect, the union representing 34,000 specialist civil servants, said: “Instead the government intends to respect multi-year pay deals, which will create a casino of winners and losers between those lucky enough to have a deal in place and those who will be frozen out.

“In addition the government intends to discriminate against the civil service by cutting its pay to the bone while allowing other public servants to take home increases that are 1.8% higher.”

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