§ The Prime Minister
As the House knows, questions concerning the pay and leave of the non-industrial Civil Service were referred in March to the Civil Service arbitration tribunal, and the tribunal's award was made known to the parties on 23 April. The claim by the Council of Civil Service Unions was for a pay increase from 1 April 1982 of 13 per cent. for all non-industrial civil servants, with a minimum increase of £12.50 a week where 13 per cent. did not produce this amount, and for substantial improvements in holiday entitlement. The Government for their part had offered pay increases ranging from 0–5½ per cent.—with the higher percentages going to the more experienced staff—and for modest improvements in holiday entitlements. The arbitration tribunal's award was for improvements in holidays mainly for the lower grades and for pay increases ranging from 4¾–6¼ per cent. with the highest increases going to the more experienced staff. The average increase in pay resulting from the tribunal's award would be 5.9 per cent.
In agreeing to allow, if' necessary, this year's pay settlement for the non-industrial Civil Service to be referred to the Civil Service arbitration tribunal the Government made it clear that they reserved the right, if necessary, to ask the House of Commons to set aside the award on grounds of overriding national policy.
The Government have decided to accept the award. The cost of implementing it will be met as follows. The relevant Estimates and cash limits are being reduced to offset the reduction in the national insurance surcharge along the lines proposed for the whole public sector in the 110W Budget speech. Revised cash limits on this basis will be announced shortly. The Government have decided that the cost of the CSAT award will be met within these reduced cash limits. It is only if, later in the year, exceptional difficulties arise in the case of particular cash limits that limited calls on the Contingency Reserve may be considered.
The reports of the Armed Forces Pay Review Body, the Doctors and Dentists Review Body and the Top Salaries Review Body have been delivered to me. The Government are extremely grateful to the members of the review bodies for these reports and for the time and care which they have put into their preparation. I wish particularly to express my gratitude to Sir Harold Atcherley who, after long and valuable service, is handing over the chairmanship of the Armed Forces Pay Review Body to Sir David Orr, retiring chairman of Unilever Ltd. We are much indebted to Sir David for taking on this task.
The report of the Armed Forces Pay Review Body recommends new rates of pay for Service men and women applicable from 1 April 1982. The Government have accepted the report, and the necessary steps to implement the new rates of pay, and inform Service men of the details of the report, will be taken as soon as possible. The cost of the increases will be 6.1 per cent. of the projected pay bill of the Armed Forces for the present financial year. The financing of this award will be considered further. The report of the Armed Forces Pay Review Body has been laid before the House today and will be published as a Command Paper shortly. Copies in typescript are now available in the Vote Office.
The report of the Doctors and Dentists Review Body recommends increases in the pay of Doctors and Dentists which the review body estimates are on average 6 per cent. above the level they recommended last year as appropriate from 1 April 1981. The recommendations for individual groups vary within the 6 per cent. The House will recall that the Government's decision on last year's report—which recommended increases averaging 9 percent.—was to accept them subject to an abatement of 3 per cent. The latest Doctors and Dentists Review Body recommendations are therefore 9 per cent. higher than the levels actually implemented last year.
The Government propose that doctors' and dentists' pay should be increased by an average of 6 per cent. on current levels with effect from 1 April 1982. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Social Services will be putting detailed proposals to the professions as soon as possible. These will follow the relativities recommended by the review body. The Government accept the review body's recommendations on the level of general medical practitioners' expenses, and on other non-pay matters.
The Doctors and Dentists Review Body's latest report has been laid before the House today and will be published as a Command Paper shortly. Copies in typescript are now available in the Vote Office.
The cost of implementing the Government's proposals will be met in part within existing cash limits and Estimates, as revised to take account of the changes announced on 8 March and of the reduction in NIS, in part from the Contingency Reserve. Revised cash limits and Estimates will be brought forward as soon as possible.
The report of the Top Salaries Review Body is still under consideration and an announcement of the Government's conclusions on it will be made in due 111W course. Following normal custom the TSRB's report will be published when the Government's decisions are announced.