HC Deb 15 July 1985 vol 83 cc19-20
41. Mr. Eggar

asked the Minister for the Civil Service if he will make a statement on the progress in introducing merit pay into the Civil Service.

Mr. Hayhoe

The experimental programme of performance bonuses, which I announced in December last, is now being implemented in Government Departments. The first payments of bonuses will be made during the 1985–86 financial year.

Mr. Eggar

Is not it a pity that the new programme is restricted to the open structure? Should we not be working more rapidly towards being able to make merit payments throughout the Civil Service?

Mr. Hayhoe

This is an experimental programme, and I am sure my hon. Friend will think it right that it should be assessed, monitored and evaluated carefully before any extension can be decided on. But I ought to make it clear that I and my officials are prepared to discuss extensions if they are proposed by the unions.

Mr. Merlyn Rees

If merit pay were introduced for Ministers, would not most of them starve?

Mr. Hayhoe

The right hon. Gentleman must have been reflecting on his own ministerial experience.

Mr. Campbell-Savours

How does the Minister justify the widening pay differential between civil servants and people employed in the private sector?

Mr. Hayhoe

The pay settlement made with the Civil Service this year, which gives an average of 4.9 per cent. to the whole of the Civil Service, is, in the circumstances of the time, fair and reasonable.