Military top brass get biggest increase

ARMY AND JUDGES Public sector salaries: Anger as judges and armed forces' leadership are awarded increases twice as high as those for nurses
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Political Correspondent

A small band of military top brass secured the best average percentage increase, 4.6 per cent, from yesterday's recommendations.

The figure covers rises of between 3.9 per cent and 5.6 per cent recommended by the Senior Salaries Review Body, while lower ranks covered by the Armed Forces Review Body will get between 3.7 per cent and 4.3 per cent.

First stage increases, from 1 April, will see the salary of a private class 1 climb to pounds 14,688 and pounds 15,469 from 1 December, and a senior five- star officer on pounds 125,850 by the year end.

Close behind the most senior servicemen is an estimated average of between 4 and 4.5 per cent for senior civil servants. Their pay is now performance- related, however, and actual increases will range from nil to 11 per cent, bringing salaries in 10 bands from pounds 38,000 to pounds 154,500 for the Cabinet Secretary.

Those deemed to be performing badly will get zero - or dismissal - while the overall pay bill is expected to fall by 7 per cent as staff numbers are reduced.

Since the armed forces are uniquely dependent upon their review body with no trade union muscle, the awards are expected to be generally well received. But there is likely to be some grumblings at the lower reaches. While Lieutenant-Generals and their equivalents benefit from the 5.6 per cent rise, the pay of a most basic private will go up from just pounds 9,476 to pounds 9,979.

Judges stand to receive an across-the-board increase of 3.9 per cent as a result of the recommendation of the Review Body.

Like the other professions, they will see the increase introduced in two stages - 2.9 per cent from 1 April and the balance from 1 December.

The Lord Chancellor, Lord Mackay, currently earns pounds 126,138. From 1 April his salary will rise to pounds 132,906, and from 1 December it will be pounds 134,147.

The Lord Chief Justice, Lord Taylor, will see his salary increased from the current pounds 124,138 to pounds 132,147 by the start of December.

Further down the judicial hierarchy Law Lords will see their earnings increase from pounds 114,874 to pounds 122,203; Appeal Court judges will go from pounds 110,137 to pounds 117,164; High Court judges from pounds 98,957 to pounds 104,415; Group five judges, including senior circuit judges and others, from pounds 85,241 to pounds 89,118.; Group six judges - circuit judges and others - from pounds 72,524 to pounds 76,703; Group seven judges - district judges and others - from pounds 59,327 to pounds 62,611.

News of the judges' 3.9 per cent increase drew an angry response from campaigners for those at the lower end of the pay league.

Chris Pond, director of the Low Pay Unit, said: "I cannot imagine that anyone will think that a judge should get twice as much of an increase as a nurse."