Public Sector Review: Civil Service: High-flying mandarins given 10.5%

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The Independent Online
A HANDFUL of Britain's most senior civil servants will receive a pay increase of 10.5 per cent as the Government moves to reward high- flyers. But leaders of the civil servants' union declared their disappointment yesterday at a pay award that fails to guarantee an increase in salary.

While the highest and lowest salaries for each of the civil service grades will increase by 2.8 per cent, any movement within the scale will depend entirely on performance. It is recommended that the "truly exceptional" should rocket from the bottom to the top of their salary bands.

Yesterday's award, under the recommendations of the senior salaries review body, will mean that the top and bottom salaries for grade ones, the old rank of assistant secretary, will go up from pounds 40,418 to pounds 41,550 and pounds 63,492 to pounds 65,270 respectively. The minimum for the 35 permanent secretaries, the most senior civil servants, will rise from pounds 95,719 to pounds 98,400 and the maximum from pounds 164,318 to pounds 168,910.

Jonathan Baume, general secretary of the First Division Association, the union for senior civil servants, urged ministers to review the whole system of productivity-related salaries. "It is hard to understand and demotivates staff," said Mr Baume. "There is a hard lesson here for other public-sector workers facing performance pay."

Paul Noone, general secretary elect of the IPMS union, which represents scientists and other specialists, pointed out that senior officials were receiving the lowest award so far announced for public servants. "It makes no sense to discriminate against the very people who are charged with implementing the Government's agenda for modernising public services," he said.

MPs and junior ministers will receive an automatic 2.8 per cent plus a further 1.5 per cent left over from staged awards in 1998.

Judges' salaries will rise by 3.5 per cent, which also includes increases left over from last year. The salary range will move from pounds 70,820-pounds 148,502 to pounds 74,464-pounds 157,511.

Lower ranks in the armed forces are to receive marginally better treatment on pay than their superiors. While major- generals and above will have to prove their worth to enjoy a pay increase, privates and lieutenants will receive an automatic rise of 3.6 per cent and 3.7 per cent respectively. The minimum for privates will increase from pounds 10,700 to pounds 11,111 and lieutenants from pounds 20,000 to pounds 20,800. The maximum salary for a full general, an air chief marshal and an admiral will rise by 3.3 per from pounds 107,600 to pounds 111,200. The minimum of pounds 95,000 will stay the same.

George Robertson, Secretary of State for Defence, said the salary costs of pounds 210m would be contained within expenditure limits announced in July.