Photo of Rachel Reeves

Rachel Reeves (Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury; Leeds West, Labour)

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the answer of 23 February 2012, Official Report, column 929W, on the public sector: pay,

(1) what the 106 posts are where there was no previous postholder; what their pay bands are; and what the aggregate cost is of those posts;

(2) what the aggregate cost was of all posts he has approved with a salary of more than £142,500 in the last year;

(3) in how many of the 83 cases where there was a previous postholder for comparison the pay approved was (a) equal to or lower than and (b) higher than that of the previous postholder;

(4) in respect of how many of the 189 times he was asked to approve the remuneration packages of individuals he (a) approved, (b) refused and (c) modified the requests; and what the pay bands are for the salaries he approved.

Photo of Danny Alexander

Danny Alexander (The Chief Secretary to the Treasury; Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey, Liberal Democrat)

Since May 2010, I have been asked to approve the remuneration packages of senior appointments earning more than £142,500, in areas under ministerial control.

Under this process, Departments that wish to advertise a vacancy at a level greater than £142,500 must first of all seek the sign-off of a departmental Minister, before presenting proposals to Cabinet Office or Treasury officials, who then provide these to me.

This process does not only ensure that I scrutinise all proposals over £142,500—but ensures that all Departments consider such proposals carefully before they are presented to the Treasury. Requests are rejected, modified and improved at all stages of the approval process—and cases are often approved at a range, subject to particular requirements, before appointments are advertised. As a result of the whole process, in central Government alone the number of people paid more than £150,000 has dropped by 55 since May last year.

Of the 83 cases I have seen for which there was a previous postholder, the pay approved was equal to or lower than that previous postholder in 68 of the cases, and higher in 15. This is estimated to save around £1 million. Of the cases where there was no previous postholder, the Treasury does not hold the names of all individuals, as the majority were approved at the advertisement stage, prior to appointments being made.

As I usually approve salaries at a range, prior to advertisement, it is not possible for the Treasury to provide a precise figure for the aggregate cost of such salaries. However, the overall annual expenditure in association with these salaries is estimated between a range of £28 million and £29 million. Of these, the cases where there was no previous postholder account for around £7 million of annual spending.

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