Letter: Judge's summing-up on top pay

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Sir: Your article 'Judges attack the Government over court funding' (1 August) seriously misquotes the observations I made in court on 31 July. I was reported as saying that even if the 19.4 per cent recommendation had been accepted, judicial earnings would have fallen in real terms since 1985. I said no such thing. It would have been totally untrue had I done so.

What I did say, and I quote from the transcript, was:

In the seven-year period since the last fundamental review, the salaries of the top groups within the review body's remit, which include the judiciary, have in real terms fallen by 3 per cent, whilst at the same time the salaries of the lower groups have risen in real terms by 7 per cent, average earnings in Great Britain have risen by 22 per cent in real terms and the earnings of equivalent groups in the private sector have risen by 41 per cent.

These figures are taken from the review body's report. I also commented that the across-the- board increase of 19.7 per cent (not 19.4 per cent) was therefore less than the real increase in average earnings and only half the real increase in the private sector. I also pointed out that, since the total pay bill for all groups within the review body's remit was less than one quarter of 1 per cent of the total government pay bill, implementation of the 19.7 per cent overall recommendation would only have raised the proportion to about one third of 1 per cent.

The 19.7 per cent rise would, of course, leave the top group, including the judiciary, better off in real terms.

Lest there be any misunderstanding, I am well aware that some of the increases which were recommended, including those of some of the judiciary, exceeded 19.7 per cent. I have used that figure only because it was used by the Prime Minister in his statement to the House of Commons on 10 July.

Yours faithfully,


Widford, Hertfordshire

1 August