HC Deb 21 July 1969 vol 787 cc1204-5
1. Mr. Biffen

asked the Minister for the Civil Service what recommendations have been received from the Plowden Committee in respect of the pay of senior civil servants; and what action he now proposes.

The Paymaster-General (Mrs. Judith Hart)

I would refer the hon. Gentleman to my statement in answer to a Question by my hon. Friend the Member for Sheffield, Brightside (Mr. Eddie Griffiths), on 11th July.—[Vol. 779, c. 351.]

Mr. Biffen

As these people can barely be classified as lower paid and in view of the impossibility of measuring the productivity of the senior Civil Service, is not the decision of the right hon. Lady an indication that she recognises that the market rate is by far the most valuable indication for measuring the wages and salaries which these people should be earning?

Mrs. Hart

What is clear is that the first stage of the increases is in line with the incomes policy. Those in the higher Civil Service last had an increase almost four years ago and the remaining stages of the increase fall to be considered in the context of the needs of incomes policy.

Mr. Whitaker

Does my right hon. Friend agree that until steps are taken to reduce the enormous differentials in the public and private sectors the public sector should enjoy at least equality and preferably better conditions than the private sector?

Mrs. Hart

I think my hon. Friend has put his finger on the kernel of the matter. While we have competition in the public sector we cannot in terms of the high standards of our administrative Civil Service allow senior officials to become poor relations. But if my hon. Friend were to say to me that we should look at the relationships between pay of all kinds—both high and low pay—I would entirely agree with him.