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Civil Service Pay

Cabinet Office and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster – in the House of Commons on 13th March 2019.

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Photo of Bambos Charalambous Bambos Charalambous Labour, Enfield, Southgate

What recent discussions he has had with trades unions on civil service pay.

Photo of Oliver Dowden Oliver Dowden The Parliamentary Secretary, Cabinet Office

The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and I regularly engage with unions on a range of civil service workforce issues, including pay. I most recently met union representatives across the wider public sector last month, and I will meet civil service trade unions on pay for 2019 very shortly.

Photo of Bambos Charalambous Bambos Charalambous Labour, Enfield, Southgate

Since 2010, wages for workers in the civil service have fallen 10% to 13% behind workers in the NHS, local government and the education sector. Despite that, the Cabinet Office has confirmed that any pay rise above 1% will have to come from further cuts in jobs, and in terms and conditions. Is it not time that the Government backed up their claim to be ending austerity by ending it first for their own employees?

Photo of Oliver Dowden Oliver Dowden The Parliamentary Secretary, Cabinet Office

As the hon. Gentleman acknowledges, we have removed the 1% pay cap, and it is up to each Department to find efficiency savings and better ways of working to pay for greater pay rises. That is exactly what we have seen. For example, the Foreign Office agreed a deal of 4.6% on average over the course of two years, giving a pay rise but funded properly by efficiency savings.

Photo of David Evennett David Evennett Conservative, Bexleyheath and Crayford

Will my hon. Friend say whether in the discussions he has been having he has reflected on how much the national living wage will increase from next month, and how many workers that will benefit?

Photo of Oliver Dowden Oliver Dowden The Parliamentary Secretary, Cabinet Office

As ever, my right hon. Friend is absolutely correct. In fact, the effect of the national living wage this year is to hand workers a £700 pay rise.

Photo of Chris Stephens Chris Stephens Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Fair Work and Employment)

Can the Minister confirm that permanent secretaries agreed a 1% pay offer across the board in Departments last year? Does that not make a mockery of the fact that the Government have 200 separate pay negotiations across the civil service?

Photo of Oliver Dowden Oliver Dowden The Parliamentary Secretary, Cabinet Office

As the hon. Gentleman is aware, in respect of lower grades—those below the senior civil service—there is a delegated pay process. The overall framework is set by the Cabinet Office and the Treasury, and it is for individual Departments to decide. We will go through the proper process, and no final decisions have been taken.