FDA accuses Priti Patel’s allies of ‘peddling myths’ on civil service pay

Written by Richard Johnstone on 3 August 2017 in News

Fury over claims salaries are too high and ‘out of step’ with comparable private-sector roles

Photo: PA

The union representing senior civil servants has accused allies of international development secretary Priti Patel of “peddling myths” after sources close to the minister said there was a need to further restrain the pay of top officials.

Responding to a source close to Patel who told the Telegraph that civil service salaries “are too high and way out of line with public opinion”, FDA general secretary Dave Penman said the allegation was “peddling myths” on pay.

“This latest misrepresentation of public sector pay from ‘sources close to’ the international development secretary demonstrates a blatant disregard for the government’s own research,” he said.


“The source peddles tired myths about public sector perks and claims that pay is ‘out of step with many other comparable external roles’ – despite the government’s figures showing that directors general earn 62% less than their private sector counterparts.”

Penman said that, as a result of the government’s pay restraint, the take-home pay of senior civil servants had fallen by 23% in real terms since 2010. The Senior Salaries Review Body that recommends pay increases for senior Whitehall roles has warned that the continuing 1% pay cap was increasing recruitment and retention problems.

It was an “easy option” to brief against senior civil servants, who cannot answer back, he said.

“As for the dismissive claim that civil servants can afford to take a pay cut because they are not going to ‘walk into better paid jobs in the real world’, the government’s own analysis shows that many of them are now choosing to do just that,” Penman added. “More than half of all senior civil servants who quit last year cited pay as a significant reason for their exit.”

The source close to Patel told the Telegraph she did not support senior level pay increases.

“The Cabinet Office are crazy and wrong on this stuff,” the paper quoted them as saying. “Salaries are too high and way out of line with public opinion.

“Director generals’ top pay and bonuses come on top of their enormous pension pots all of which are unmatched in the private sector and outside of the civil service.

"The Cabinet Office needs to reform, and grip senior pay levels as the levels they have set are wrong and out of step with many other comparable external roles."

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Richard Johnstone is CSW's deputy and online editor and tweets as @CSW_DepEd

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cynicalcivilservant (not verified)

Submitted on 3 August, 2017 - 13:38
How nice to see the appreciation ministers have for their own workforce, for facts, and the truth in general. Far better to mouth off to your friends in the anti public sector media than check the research done by the government you're a part of eh?

Jane Platts (not verified)

Submitted on 3 August, 2017 - 14:03
I hope this does not reflect on lower grade civil servants who work on the front line, we are struggling to continue working on the salaries we are on and are paid a lower salary than many who work for the private sector. Over the last few years so many of my colleague have taken VES packages or early retirement or just left the DWP to work in the private sector for better pay, in my years working for the department I have never know so many colleagues desprate to get out of the department and find another job. It's getting really tuff and staff are demoralised and tired and because of staff cuts they are doing more for less. It's really sad that the ministers dont appreciate or comprehend that without our commitment to the job and care and compasion for the public the new welfare reform implimentation would not come to fruition.

BP (not verified)

Submitted on 3 August, 2017 - 15:49
Sad really all of a sudden all public sector employees are overpaid. What's the basis for this judgement, no one should get paid more that the PM!!! What kind of criteria is that. On the one had you want to employ the best person for the job, but then want to pay them peanuts. Surely it is as important to have highly competent people managing government expenditure as it is to have capable people in the private sector generating wealth.

Steve Greenway (not verified)

Submitted on 7 August, 2017 - 14:47
The trouble with this whole 'no Civil Servant should earn more than the PM' rubbish is it completely ignores MP expenses package (worth at least £250K a year), cabinet pay (just chairing a committee is worth £10-£30K a year, and how many committees will the PM 1 chair) and ignores the fact the Pm job comes with two fully staffed and all bills paid Grace and Favour residencies. And of course exPMs seem to do very well nicely once they leave the role. So comparisons are not really equal. Well unless your role (for example the CO at Tidworth who receives a Grace and Favour residency in Durrington).

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