Senior civil servants win inflation-busting pay rises

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Tony Blair's annual salary will rise to £179,000 in a pay round which will award above-inflation increases to senior civil servants, the Prime Minister announced yesterday.

Tony Blair's annual salary will rise to £179,000 in a pay round which will award above-inflation increases to senior civil servants, the Prime Minister announced yesterday.

Mr Blair said that from April, MPs and ministers will receive a pay rise of 2 per cent - below the retail price index of goods and services which is 2.8 per cent. However, senior civil servants will receive an average rise of 3.5 per cent.

Performance-related pay could increase the pay of senior civil servants by up to 9 per cent, but colleagues deemed less successful could receive far less or even nothing.

Senior military officers will receive 2.8 per cent, putting a four-star general on more than £130,000. The changes, recommended by a pay review body, will leave backbench MPs on £57,500, before the addition of expenses, supplements and a generous pension. Cabinet ministers will earn £130,347, less than their permanent secretaries. The most highly paid member of the civil service is Sir Andrew Turnbull, the Cabinet Secretary, whose basic salary is £204,999.

Advisers to the Prime Minister, permanent secretaries in Whitehall departments and heads of M16, M15 and GCHQ earn more than £125,000 a year.

Judges, who currently earn up to £205,200 a year, will get a pay rise of 2.5 per cent.

But Lord Falconer, the Lord Chancellor, will take the same salary as other cabinet ministers. His predecessor, Lord Irvine of Lairg, was condemned for taking a 22 per cent rise in salary to £202,736 last year.

Civil service unions expressed disquiet yesterday that although some top civil servants could see their pay increase substantially, others may see their pay decrease after the review. Jonathan Baume, general secretary of the FDA, which represents top civil servants, warned that the biggest pay rises could go to new recruits to the civil service from business, journalism and consultancy.

"Evidence is already emerging that senior civil servants appointed directly to post from outside the service are earning higher salaries than internal candidates and this award will only exacerbate this two-tier market in senior posts," he said.

The annual report of the review body on senior salaries highlighted the inequality between men's and women's pay in the civil service.

Women on average earn 5 per cent less than their male counterparts. But those who go part time after having a baby lose out the most.

A review of pay found that the salary difference between those working part time was 13 per cent higher for men.

Sandra Gidley MP, Liberal Democrat women's spokesman, said the Government should "be setting an example" to the private sector on equal pay for men and women. "Women who get a bad deal will eventually vote with their feet and go and work for an employer who values their contribution - even if it is a part-time one," she said.

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