Theresa May 'to lift public sector pay cap this month'

Written by John Ashmore on 4 September 2017 in News
News

Public sector areas with retention issues, such as senior civil servants, expected to be among first to get a pay rise

The prime minister is expected to make an announcement on the pay cap later this month. Credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA

Theresa May is preparing to end the seven-year cap on public sector pay rises this month, it has been reported.

Under the plans, revealed in today's Sun, ministers will give the green light to pay rises in line with inflation, which currently stands at 2.6%.

That will be a boost for the millions of public sector workers who have seen their pay rises held down to just 1% since 2010, with rising inflation meaning they have faced a real-terms fall in wages.


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Today's reports suggest the government will bring in the changes over a two-year period to spread the cost to the Treasury, with low paid and professions with the biggest retention problems, such as nurses and senior civil servants, among the first to get a pay rise.

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt has apparently been one of the ministers arguing that NHS workers need a pay rise to prevent staff leaving the service.

The move will be rubber-stamped later this month when the chief secretary to the Treasury, Liz Truss, issues advice to the public sector pay review bodies.

“The PM and the chancellor think the government need to show we understand the value of people’s service, not just the price of it," a government source told the Sun.

“Being taken for granted for a long time is why people are getting tired with austerity.”

A source in the Treasury said lifting the pay cap was “the biggest domestic issue for us this autumn" and would "dominate the Budget”.

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John Ashmore is chief reporter for Politcs Home, where a version of this story first appeared

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Anon (not verified)

Submitted on 4 September, 2017 - 15:17
Senior Civil Servants in line to be first to get a pay rise? As a taxpayer I find this truly disgusting while the country is still massively in debt. The pay in the Civil Service is all ready generous and it should be an honour just to serve. The right of centre media will portray this as 'all aboard the gravy train' no doubt.

Efua (not verified)

Submitted on 4 September, 2017 - 15:41
I hope you realise that most hard working civil servants are NOT senior civil servants - they are in the minority. Because of the ongoing pay cuts, many civil servants are having to resort to visiting food banks and charities just in order to be able to live from day to day. As a hard working civil servant I'm afraid the view that it 'should be an honour to serve' doesn't pay my bills or put food on the table.

anon commenter (not verified)

Submitted on 4 September, 2017 - 20:30
Back in 2005 the union negotiated an excellent pay deal for AA and AOs in the civil service. When considered against pay in outside industry it was an openly celebrated 'secret' that the pay was more than the 'going rate'. Currently AOs earn over £19k and would not get that for similar work in the private sector. Understand for those living in London the cost of living is much higher, but really elsewhere in the UK people should be able to manage on £19k. Sorry but the only way to keep people in work in the public sector, while dealing with debt, is to continue with George Osborne's pay restraint.

Greg S (not verified)

Submitted on 7 September, 2017 - 13:04
It's very dangerous, and slightly pompous to make such bold assumptions, that if someone earns £19k per year and lives outside of London, they should be able to "manage". We all live different lives, with varied commitments. Do you expect a single parent with children to support, a mortgage/rent to find each month, not to mention food, utilities and other basic requirements which are all experiencing price increases greater than 1%, to survive on £19k. What about someone who has dependent elderly parents to financially support, who are surviving on a basic state pension; can that person survive on £19k. I could go on, however hopefully you understand my point. We must never assume that our lives are all the same. This Government quite easily found £1bn for the DUP, to ensure they had a majority in Parliament, and to secure their own jobs for another 5 years. The money can be found to give the Public Sector the pay rise they deserve and in many cases need; it just depends if there is enough political pressure being applied to Government, or if their role as MP's are at risk. To freeze and then cap anyones pay for 7 years is not acceptable, particularly when public sector pensions are also linked to salaries; the affect of the pay freeze/cap will affect public sector employees beyond employment and into retirement.

An 'honoured' C... (not verified)

Submitted on 4 September, 2017 - 16:16
As a Civil Servant of 36 years, I'm 'honoured' to be struggling to pay my rent, I feel the 'honour' deeply when trying to decide whether I should put the heating on this month on wear another layer. I'm equally 'honoured' every time someone says I'm receiving an 'already generous' pay for 'serving'. Some Senior Civil Servants are on very decent salaries and will receive extremely decent pensions. That certainly doesn't apply to the vast majority of us. When I joined the Civil Service, I was told that I could retire at 60 after 40 years 'serving', now it's going to be 67 as my 'generous pay' (which says how much pension I get) won't allow me to retire before getting my State Pension. Yes, I know that some people are in a worse position, but please don't make the mistake that all civil servants are well paid. Just keeping pace would do for most of us. Please don't lump us all in together and certainly not if you don't know what you're talking about!

Long serving CS (not verified)

Submitted on 5 September, 2017 - 08:13
As a tax paying Civil Servant of nearly 40 years I can assure you there is no gravy train here - at my level of work anyway. We have faced losing our jobs, reapplying for our own jobs (and not getting them), centralisation of work, closure of local counter facilities for the public and now building closures - in addition to no increase in salary and having our pensions devastated. I am looking forward to another 10 years of the same - I am glad to have had employment and helped raise my family. I currently work 4 days per week and have just received a gross weekly increase of £2.53 i.e. before tax.

Anonymous (not verified)

Submitted on 5 September, 2017 - 19:39
Generous? I'm sorry, what do you call generous? I've have worked within the Civil Service for 11yrs and still earn under £20000! A lot less than private sector! Maybe you should try and struggle to keep up with bills etc maybe you should join the Civil Service for the honour to serve.

Andy (not verified)

Submitted on 6 September, 2017 - 07:41
... ahh yes... because just the honour of being a civil servant puts food in the mouths of my children and puts a roof over their heads... ... and Civil Servants are tax payers too... or did you forget that? ... quite frankly, as a tax payer, I find your comments truly disgusting, ignorant of the facts and offensive...

Anon (not verified)

Submitted on 4 September, 2017 - 15:54
What about those of us who aren't covered by Pay Review bodies - i.e. all civil servants not in SCS

Anon (not verified)

Submitted on 4 September, 2017 - 16:30
What about the the lower graded Civil Servants? Surely, they are in need of the pay cap lift more than those Seniors who are already on "popstar" wages! Sort out pay rises for the NHS staff and those on lower salaries first! I have never seen a pay rise in the CS, and the private sector is starting look more and more appealing!

Winston Smith (not verified)

Submitted on 4 September, 2017 - 16:35
SENIOR CIVIL SERVANTS??? Seriously, the people on £200,000 a year first in line to get a pay rise? How about a rise for those who need to visit foodbanks? How about a rise for those whose pay has fallen in monetary terms as well as in real terms? How about a rise for those who get a payrise each time the minimum wage goes up?

HW (not verified)

Submitted on 4 September, 2017 - 20:15
I agree with you Winston. Though in HMRC it would be nice to work in an environment not overshadowed by bullying and fear of management just making stuff up; that really does have a detrimental affect on our health, wellbeing and ultimately standard of living.

anon (not verified)

Submitted on 4 September, 2017 - 18:56
:-(

Frank (not verified)

Submitted on 4 September, 2017 - 20:47
I fear Mrs May is considering this for political reasons only i.e. Jeremy Corbyn saw an increase in vote share (largely thanks to the unaffordable 'offer' to students) and she is now worried. Now is not the time to significantly increase public spending especially with brexit & global economic uncertainty, and I worry she is turning her back on austerity. If Mrs May oversees a healthy economy the voters will reward her in the long run.

Carol (not verified)

Submitted on 5 September, 2017 - 06:57
Quid pro quo. Get rid of your staff and we will reward you with a pay raise.

Sam Lowry (Mini... (not verified)

Submitted on 5 September, 2017 - 10:44
Oh, I'm more than happy to receive a constant pay cap and just bask in the gratitude of the Ministers for whom I work... Oh, hang on, they don't want a Civil Service (neither does Theresa May), so I guess I'll just go sit in the corner and sulk. This is going to be very divisive (and perhaps that's the intention). Either scrap the pay cap for all or keep it in place and explain why it's needed (and why it doesn't apply to MPs).

Anon (not verified)

Submitted on 5 September, 2017 - 10:43
Brilliant timing as most of the pay awards across the non senior civil servants and public sector have had their awards determined this year at less than 1% based on the cap. So grab the headlines but no real impact until mid 2018. We are not senior civil servants but the "normal" people with "normal" lives, ever increasing transport and train costs way beyond any increase as well as increasing bills.

Earl Johnson (not verified)

Submitted on 5 September, 2017 - 13:18
I thought senior civil servants were paid very well compared to the rest of us who work in the public sector. I have read of public sector workers whose take home pay is around £1,000, if not less, and who have to struggle with things like rent/mortgage, travel and essentials such as food and heating. What they are left with after deductions of income tax and national insurance leaves much to be desired. On the other hand we heard of MP's who gave themselves an 11 percent pay rise, which "shot" their salaries from £65,000 to £77,000 - a £12,000 increase. Many of use would love just 10 percent of that. I do hope the government can find it in their hearts not just to give a pay increase for the lower paid, but even to back date the increase, althought I think that might be asking a bit too much.

Earl Johnson (not verified)

Submitted on 5 September, 2017 - 13:26
I thought senior civil servants were paid very well compared to the rest of us who work in the public sector. I have read of public sector workers whose take home pay is around £1,000, if not less, and who have to struggle with things like rent/mortgage, travel and essentials such as food and heating. What they are left with after deductions of income tax and national insurance leaves much to be desired. On the other hand we heard of MP's who gave themselves an 11 percent pay rise, which "shot" their salaries from £65,000 to £77,000 - a £12,000 increase. Many of use would love just 10 percent of that. I do hope the government can find it in their hearts not just to give a pay increase for the lower paid, but even to back date the increase, althought I think that might be asking a bit too much.

Anon (not verified)

Submitted on 5 September, 2017 - 16:27
I suspect pay rises will be restricted to organisations (e.g. prison service) and geographical areas (e.g. London) where there are recruitment issues. Many of the administrative parts of the public sector, civil service departments such as DWP and HMRC, already receive very good pay deals and will probably continue with 1% increases (at the moment). In the private sector wage increases are passed on to the consumer, in the public sector the taxpayer picks up the tab. While we all would love pay increases I think we have to be realistic that the government still have an enormous task of clearing the debt and, even if there tax rises, that additional money ought to go on debt repayment.

Old Father Time (not verified)

Submitted on 5 September, 2017 - 18:09
20+ years in the civil service with 12 years in the armed forces before that and nearly pension age. Oh doom and gloom !! Military pension cut away to nearly nothing and civil service pension constantly being reduced by HMG . Add to that a pay rise of £330 over the last 9 years with approx 19% in the cost of living. Sure why should I grumble ? I,ll just do the decent thing and sleep on the streets or even better just have the decency to pop my mortal clogs and save my poultry pension for some poor MP's bottle of wine or for some new fittings for his second home. Over 40 years service in total to this country and that's the reward.

Anonymous (not verified)

Submitted on 6 September, 2017 - 09:17
I have been a lower grade Civil Servant for 25 years. Since 2010 my take home pay in real terms have reduced by around 20% taking into account the pay freeze and increased pension contributions. This is true of all public sector workers - my wife is a teacher and she has seen a similar drop in real terms wage. Working in the public sector does not ensure an above average wage, or a gold plated pension - in fact its the exact opposite. The public perception of greedy, highly paid public sector workers is a myth, perpetuated by certaion sections of the press. in 2011 Cameron and Osborne commisioned a report of public sector pay versus private sector pay, in order to show that the public sector was higher paid and thus introduce regional pay structures aimed and supressing public sector pay further. the Hayes Report (as it was called) showed a marked difference between public sector and private sector pay, however it showed that jobs in the private sector were much higher paid than their public sector equivalent. Suprisingly the report was buried. Th point is that public sector pay has lagged behind private sector pay for at least the last 10 years and if we are to keep our public sector efficient and fully staffed then pay parity much be achieved. Its also worth considering that our 'gold plated' pensions have been decimated. My contributions have quadrupled in the last 7 years, yet i now have to work 7 years longer and receive a smaller pension when i finally retire. My 'gold plated' pension is currently woth £6k a year, and I have 25 years in the service. I dont have much to look forward to do I ? And as for teaching - dont even go there. Its in a horrendous state. My wife has been a teacher for 25 years and I have never seen her so stressed as she has been for the last few years. There has been many times she has broken down due to the pressure of working 18 hour days, due to working until midnight every day, including weekends, from home just to be able to complete all the paperwork, marking and schemes of work.

27 years and co... (not verified)

Submitted on 6 September, 2017 - 15:04
A lot of folk (even me) have been had...Private v Public(Civil) Service...you can not equate the both, the closest are PS/CS services flogged off or some white collar companies .... if everything was made private (Tory heaven) yes the work will still need to be done, and no doubt wages in some areas would be squeezed (see USA models for this) to provide profit for shareholders or a minority owner (even charities!)...and from all of this the public would be "lucky" to get 1p knocked off income tax... false econ...as we get taxed to the hilt everywhere else. The debate about "wages" is an old stick that comes out when a Govt has no cash and also on ones own opinion and state of circumstances at that time...as everyone has there "own story" on working for CS/PS good and bad and its the same for Private workers...so I am under no illusion one person will be happy with their lot whilst another will not be..this happens in life whether you work at MacDonalds or HMRC. I joined the CS as it had many benefits and I knew the money was actually less than my mates (at the time) working in private companies, but I had many non monetary perks and indeed still has (even after many things eroded over time) BUT..everyone would like more money to have a living and not just get by so is it not "fair" to at least have a wage linked to inflation as a minimum?? no matter your level at work... In somes cases the "Living Wage" is/was below some CS/PS current wages, this is why (for example)DWP staff got a wage increase above 1% (although with many cavates I may add and this was using the departments overall 1% wage bill, just spread about from the pot and smaller bonus incentives)..as many staff were below the new minimum wage!!.. As for SCSs well I won't like to do there job and most have no or little life as CS/PS demands (I have seen this myself..again many would say "My heart bleeds for them"..well indeed, but thats the way "our own" stories work)...SCSs are a minority and we don't live in a socialist paridise so people get paid more (and less) ...so get over it, paying these people less won't mean cheaper utilties (private) or rent (in some cases as again private landlords)...pay for the majority is rubbish and always has been and always will be unless something drastic happens...so be happy as that 1% tax decrease gets you to cover the additional increases in other taxes that are actually 5%...we've all been had so what you gonna do about it??

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