Some civil servants set to lose out on 1% pay rise

Written by Colin Marrs on 26 August 2015 in News

Treasury minister Greg Hands tells pay review bodies to target higher rises in areas which would improve recruitment and retention

Civil servants will not automatically receive the 1% pay rise that had been assumed following the Summer Budget.

In July, chancellor George Osborne announced a 1% rise in public sector pay awards for the next four years.

But now, in a letter to public service pay boards, chief secretary to the Treasury Greg Hands said that some – including new joiners – could be given higher rises than others within the overall envelope.

Related content:
Budget 2015: Four more years of 1% public sector payrises, George Osborne confirms​
"Uncompetitive" senior civil service pay could hit morale, warns David Normington​
Dave Penman: All in it together? Not if you're a public servant​
Performance Management 2020: Looking to tomorrow

His letter said: “The government expects pay awards to be applied in a targeted manner to support the delivery of public services, and to address recruitment and retention pressures. This may mean that some workers could receive more than 1% while others could receive less. 

“There should not be an expectation that every worker will receive a 1% award.”

He said that departments would submit evidence to the pay boards covering the needs of their different workforces.

Unison general secretary Dave Prentis said that the implication was that hundreds of thousands of public sector staff would now not get any pay rise at all.

He said: “It is clear from this letter that the government’s promise of a 1% pay rise for public sector workers was all smoke and mirrors.

“There was no substance to Osborne’s claim and NHS staff will be bitterly disappointed to hear many of them may not even get an extra penny for five more years.”

Hands’ letter also said that public sector pay reforms also outlined in the Summer Budget could lead to changes around progression pay, where staff get automatic pay rises as they stay within the civil service.

He said that this would involve “considering legislation where necessary to achieve the government’s objectives.”

Naomi Cooke, assistant general secretary of the FDA union, told CSW: “Ministers’ developing habit of reaching for legislative means to manage the public sector workforce instead of engaging and consulting those affected is deeply concerning.  

“Arbitrarily removing one part of a pay framework with no consideration of what is left makes no more sense when managing the civil service than it does when playing Jenga. 

“Instead of seeking to legislate away civil servants’ contractual rights, ministers should examine why those provisions were introduced in the first place.”

Author Display Name
Colin Marrs
Share this page
Editor's Pick
Promote as primary content
Not Promoted

Share this page

Further reading in our policy hubs


Please login to post a comment or register for a free account.


Sarah L (not verified)

Submitted on 26 August, 2015 - 12:31
Progression Pay? Never had that in 15 years. Am on a not dissimilar wage than nearly 10 years ago, despite double the responsibility. I despair for those below me in the structure - bills are hard enough to pay as it is

J Kay (not verified)

Submitted on 2 February, 2016 - 11:43
After 30 years in the Department with one advancement, I can afford a house in the same location to buy as I did in 1989! That is the real cost to front line staff, who are expected to do the job of 3 of their colleagues and then be assessed against a PMR system intrinsically enshrined with biased practises.

S Miller (not verified)

Submitted on 26 August, 2015 - 12:44
So why not move the work to where retention is not an issue? Move it out of the Home Counties and London to areas of higher unemployment.

Mad dog (not verified)

Submitted on 27 August, 2015 - 13:39
You are stating the obvious, you should know that MPs wish to maintain the status Quo, by doing absolutely nothing! Besides, which you are applying common sense. when have MPs / Government actually applied common sense and logic to anything they do?

Katrina S (not verified)

Submitted on 26 August, 2015 - 12:51
Many staff don't get the 1% pay rise anyway - e.g. in departments like BIS where staff have chosen to remain on legacy pay systems instead of accepting reduced terms & conditions.

tom (not verified)

Submitted on 26 August, 2015 - 12:52
I missed this bit from the MPs' salary review. I suppose their pay rise should only go to MPs in marginal seats?

andrew collins (not verified)

Submitted on 26 August, 2015 - 14:28
re the article about civil servants receiving no pay increase, how will the government run itself? apart from into the ground!

Cassandra (not verified)

Submitted on 26 August, 2015 - 14:32
What's new? I've had nothing since 2010.

Julie Mills (not verified)

Submitted on 26 August, 2015 - 14:59
I work at the Office for National Statistics in our 2014 pay round we were only offered 0.5%. We are still waiting for a pay settlement for 2014, so we haven't even received that yet. Who knows when negotiations will begin on the 2015 round.

Dave (not verified)

Submitted on 26 August, 2015 - 15:06
Yet at the same time, the Chancellor writes to all staff asking for ideas to improve efficiency? There are either some really naive politicians or their advisors don't have a clue about engaging people (or both).

Susan (not verified)

Submitted on 26 August, 2015 - 16:41
I've been stuck in the middle of my pay grade for the last five years. It's all very well giving a bigger share to those lower down to lessen the gap, but less than 1% isn't bringing me any closer to the top either (with very little chance of ever getting there :-( ).

Had enough (not verified)

Submitted on 26 August, 2015 - 18:22
To be honest, what's one more percent on top of six years gone and another four to come of no or below inflation pay rises with RPI inflation at 20+% over those six years alone and being paid thousands a year less than people at the same grade doing the same job for no other reason than they got there prior to the removal of progression? Not to mention of course a performance management system which sees people demonstrating multiple behaviours and competencies expected of the next grade handed performance improvement plans just to fill a damned quota. So much for "The greatest asset any employer has is their workforce. And by investing in them, they are investing in the success and future of their business."

Anonymous (not verified)

Submitted on 27 August, 2015 - 08:59
Progression pay? As a HMRC employee I am still on the minimum salary for my grade despite being in that grade for 7 years, exceeding all my objectives and achieving an MSc with distinction in Agile Software Projects in my own time and at my own cost. I'm not quite sure who the civil service is planning to retain but it doesn't seem to be those in the Programme and Project Management profession... It's sad when you can't afford to stay in the public sector anymore after 23 years service.

A N Other (not verified)

Submitted on 27 August, 2015 - 10:25
The Office for National Statistics hasn't even paid us the 0.5% from last August 2014 !!!

David Bird (not verified)

Submitted on 27 August, 2015 - 16:08
Now, what was that I was reading?....MPs' pay rises will match that of civil servants in future years. I think it only fair that civil service pay rises should mirror that of MPs'. 10% for 2015 I think it was.

Dele (not verified)

Submitted on 3 September, 2015 - 15:41
Without the civil service, this country's economy will be out of source, the government or should I say the politicians are asking for more and giving back less. we all have responsibilities in our individual homes, how do they expect us to survive low pay. UNFAIR!!!

Julie (not verified)

Submitted on 3 November, 2015 - 16:46
"Hands’ letter also said that public sector pay reforms also outlined in the Summer Budget could lead to changes around progression pay, where staff get automatic pay rises as they stay within the civil service." We haven't had automatic pay rises or progression pay since at least 2009 anyway. Get the facts right.

Contact the author

The contact details for the Civil Service World editorial team are available on our About Us page.

Related Articles

Related Sponsored Articles