HC Deb 01 February 1999 vol 324 cc421-2W
Shona McIsaac

To ask the Prime Minister if he will make a statement on the report and recommendations of the Review Body on Senior Salaries. [68817]

The Prime Minister

The 1999 report of the Review Body on Senior Salaries, covering pay arrangements for the senior civil service, senior military officers and the judiciary, together with the annual uprating of Parliamentary salaries, has been published today. Copies are available in the Vote Office and the Library of the House. I am grateful to the Chairman and Members of the Pay Review Body for the work they have put into their report.

In the Comprehensive Spending Review, the Government made it clear that public sector pay settlements would need to be fair, affordable and consistent with the targets for public service improvements which we have set. The terms of reference of the Review Body on Senior Salaries were revised to ensure that, in making its recommendations, four key considerations set out in the Comprehensive Spending Review were taken into account:

  • recruitment, retention and motivation of the groups concerned;
  • the requirements on departments to meet their output targets for the delivery of services;
  • the requirements on departments to stay within their three year expenditure limits; and
  • the Government's inflation target, requiring responsibility in pay settlements across the public and private sectors.

The main recommendations of the Review Body on Senior Salaries are:

  • an increase of 2.8 per cent. in the minimum and maximum values of each of the pay bands for the senior civil service. Within the bands, Departments will determine individual awards on the basis of performance.
  • an increase of 3.3 per cent. in the maxima of the pay ranges within which individual salaries are set for senior military personnel.
  • an increase of 3.5 per cent. in judicial salaries.

The Review Body recommended that these increases should take effect from 1 April 1999.

The Government are satisfied that these recommendations reflect the key considerations set out in the Comprehensive Spending Review and we have therefore decided to accept them. The additional cost of the recommendations will be contained within the Departmental expenditure limits announced in July and it remains the Government's intention to meet the objectives and targets set out in the Public Service Agreements. This is in line with the Government's prudent and disciplined approach to public spending and their commitment to delivering high quality public services and low inflation.

The Lord Chancellor will respond in the next few weeks to the Review Body's recommendations on the fee structure for part-time judiciary which, although included in this report, was an exercise separate from the Review Body's consideration of senior salaries.

Pay increases for Members of Parliament and Ministers are linked automatically to the increase in pay bands for the senior civil service. Their pay entitlement from 1 April 1999 will therefore increase by 2.8 per cent. in addition to the 1.5 per cent. increase due as the deferred second stage of the 1998 pay award.

The Review Body on Senior Salaries will produce shortly a further report on the pay of junior Ministers in the House of Lords, office holders in the devolved administrations and on certain aspects of Parliamentary allowances.