English SCS earn a tenth more than Scottish counterparts

Cabinet Office stats also reveal officials in London pay less than elsewhere in England

Photo: PA

By Colin Marrs

21 Nov 2019

English senior civil servants earn more than 10% more on average than their peers in Scotland – with a narrower gap in Wales and Northern Ireland, according to government data.

Data released this month by the Cabinet Office from the 2019 Annual Civil Service Employment Survey shows the median wage earned by the SCS in England stood at £82,940 at the end of the last financial year.

This compared to £74,640 for senior civil servants in Scotland, £75,010 for those in Northern Ireland and £78,080 in Wales.

The figures also showed that median pay in London was lower than in the rest of England within the SCS.


Excluding London, median pay was £87,640, 5.6% higher than the figure if London-based staff are included.

It is understood that this anomaly is explained by the large concentration of senior policy professionals in London.

A Cabinet Office source said median pay in the policy profession is one of the lowest of all professions in the SCS.

At the bottom end of the scale, regional differences are much less pronounced, with administrative officers and assistants earning a median £20,240 in England, compared to £20,230 in Wales, £19,960 in Scotland and £20,640 in Northern Ireland.

Earlier this week, the Institute for Fiscal Studies found that there is a case for ‘targeted’ increases in public sector pay to ensure wages for civil servants and other public employees do not fall too far behind the private sector in some parts of England.

The IFS said that although public sector hourly pay is higher in most parts of the country than the private sector, the differential is smaller now than it was before the financial crisis in 2007, which led the coalition government to impose public sector pay restraint.

In August, CSW reported on the Cabinet Office’s first-ever published breakdown of salaries by civil service profession.

It found that median pay for planning inspectors was more than twice that of the lowest-paid professions: operational delivery, at £24,480; counter fraud, at £26,120; and security, at £26,160.

The figures also showed that the number of staff based in the capital has grown by 6.7% in the last year – more than any other region.

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