HC Deb 17 March 1971 vol 813 cc1414-6
36. Sir G. Nabarro

asked the Minister for the Civil Service whether he will make a statement on the recent increase in Civil Service pay and by how much this exceeds the average increases in all wages announced since the beginning of 1971.

Mr. David Howell

Agreement was reached on 11th March for a general 9½ per cent. increase from 1st January, 1971, for certain categories of civil servants, with minimum increases for adults of £1.75 per week. The settlement involves an increase in the pay bill of 9.7 per cent., which is in line with the Governments plans for de-escalation of wage increases.

Sir G. Nabarro

Will my hon. Friend apply himself to the chronic disequilibrium in the relations between salaries in the public service'? Why is it that a top civil servant gets £14,000, the Minister who appoints him gets £9,000 and Lord Melchett, Chairman of the British Steel Corporation, gets £25,000 a year? Could we not have some equity in these matters, and a balanced relationship between all grades in the public services, including Members of Parliament?

Hon. Members

Hear, hear.

Mr. Howell

That is obviously a very popular question, but the Question on the Order Paper refers to the agreement reached on 11th March. That agreement affected a wide range of grades, excluding the higher-paid grades to which my hon. Friend referred, which are dealt with in a later Question.

40. Mr. Arthur Lewis

asked the Minister for the Civil Service whether he will publish in the OFFICIAL REPORT a detailed list of persons employed in the Civil Service who are receiving salaries higher than the Minister and Junior Minister in the Departments in which they are employed; the salaries that these persons receive; the amounts of salary increases received and on what dates since October, 1964, to the latest convenient stated date.

Mr. David Howell

To obtain the information requested by the hon. Member would involve a disproportionate expenditure of time and money. However, I will, with permission, circulate in the OFFICIAL REPORT such general information as is readily available.

Mr. Lewis

I could give the hon. Gentleman the information without much difficulty. For once, I agree with the hon. Member for Worcestershire, South (Sir G. Nabarro). Is it not a disgrace that higher-paid civil servants can have frequent increases whereas the poorer sections of the population cannot get even reasonable increases?

Mr. Howell

The hon. Gentleman will find when he looks in the OFFICIAL REPORT that a number of statistics are provided. To go into the details for which he asks would involve an enormous amount of time, money and effort, and I do not think that it is worth it.

Sir Harmar Nicholls

Does not my hon. Friend agree that not only will the increase in salaries be a burden but civil servants have to be housed? At a time when outside professional consultants and bodies could be used on a temporary basis, should he not recommend their use throughout the whole Civil Service as one way of overcoming the crowded pipeline which he inherited?

Mr. Howell

As a general principle, the Government are in favour of getting away from the idea that they have to produce and provide every service from within. In other words, they are in favour of buying rather than making where this makes economic sense in the taxpayer's interest.

Following is the information:

  1. (a) Approximate number of civil servants with salaries currently above the Ministerial salary of a senior Minister (£8,500): 220.
  2. (b) Approximate number of civil servants with a flat rate or scale currently wholly above the Ministerial salary of junior Minister (£3,750): 6,000.
  3. (c) Salaries of grades in the Administration Group with salaries at about the same level as Ministers, on

(i) 1st October, 1964, and (ii) 1st January, 1971, or (iii) 1st April, 1970 (according to the date of their last increase):

Permanent Secretary:

Deputy Secretary:


Assistant Secretary:

Senior Principal:

*Permanent Secretaries have voluntarily waived the increase taking their salary to this level until 1st July, 1971.

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